Estrogen May Help Fight Severe COVID-19, UK Study Suggests
Hormone replacement therapy may offer women significant protection against dying from COVID-19, new research suggests, Medicine.Net reported. The clinical study was also published in the journal Family Practice three days earlier.
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British researchers who tracked more than 5,400 women with COVID during the first half of 2020 report that those who received the supplemental estrogen were 78% less likely to die within six months of their COVID diagnosis.
Nearly 5% of women in the study had been taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) before their COVID diagnosis. HRT is used to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia caused by lower levels of estrogen and progesterone during menopause.
"Further research would be required before we could recommend estrogen-containing medications as treatment for COVID," said study author Christopher Wilcox, an academic clinical fellow in primary care and population health at the University of Southampton.
He said that men with COVID are more likely than women to be hospitalized and admitted to an intensive care unit. Data from 38 countries indicate that men are 1.7 times more likely to die from COVID than women.
To learn more, Wilcox and his colleagues looked at primary care medical records drawn from a large U.K. database. Of more than 1.8 million women in that database, 5,451 had been diagnosed with COVID by the end of June 2020.
No one was proactively given HRT as a treatment following their COVID diagnosis and most had not been on hormone therapy beforehand. But 235 patients had been on an HRT regimen during the preceding six months.
For all women, the risk of dying within six months of a COVID diagnosis was higher among those who were older, obese, and/or struggling with other illnesses. Women on immunosuppressant drugs also faced a higher risk for death. But the team determined that those on HRT faced a substantially lower risk.