Management of osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms: focus on bazedoxifene/conjugated estrogen combination
Sebastian Mirkin,1 James H Pickar2
1Pfizer Inc, Collegeville, PA, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA
Abstract: Loss of estrogen production in women during menopause results in a state of estrogen deficiency which has been associated with multiple problems, including vasomotor symptoms, symptoms of vulvovaginal atrophy, bone loss, and difficulties with sleep, mood, memory, and sexual activity. The only treatment option currently available to address multiple postmenopausal symptoms in women with an intact uterus is estrogen/progestin-containing hormone therapy (HT). Concerns surrounding side effects and published data regarding the association of HT with the increased risk for breast cancer have induced a decrease in the number of women seeking, initiating, and continuing this type of therapy. A combination containing bazedoxifene and conjugated estrogens (BZA/CE) maintains the established benefits of estrogen therapy for treatment of postmenopausal vasomotor symptoms, vulvovaginal atrophy, and osteoporosis, while certain estrogenic effects, such as stimulation of the uterus and breast, are antagonized without the side effects associated with HT. BZA/CE has been evaluated in a series of multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and active-controlled Phase III trials known as the Selective estrogens, Menopause, And Response to Therapy (SMART) trials. BZA/CE demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in vasomotor symptoms, vulvovaginal atrophy, and a protective effect on the skeleton. These clinical benefits were associated with an acceptable safety profile and an improved tolerability compared with HT. BZA/CE showed a favorable safety profile on the breast, endometrium, and ovaries. The incidence of venous thromboembolism was low and the risk does not appear to be any greater than for CE alone or BZA alone or greater than HT. The incidence of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular accidents were similar to placebo. The overall incidence of cancer (including breast cancer) was low and similar to placebo. The SMART trials demonstrate that BZA/CE is an alternative option for treating non-hysterectomized, symptomatic, postmenopausal women.
Keywords: tissue selective estrogen complex, bazedoxifene, conjugated estrogens, menopause, osteoporosis, vasomotor symptoms