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17β-estradiol reduced depressive and somatic symptoms in perimenopausal women

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 QUESTION: In perimenopausal women with clinically important depressive disorders, does 17β-estradiol decrease depressive symptoms?


12 week randomised (allocation concealed*), blinded {clinicians, patients, outcome assessors, and statisticians},* placebo controlled trial.


A gynaecological clinic and psychiatric outpatient clinic in São Paulo, Brazil.


50 women who were 40 to 55 years of age (mean age 50 y); had a history of menstrual cycle irregularity or amenorrhoea for < 12 months; had a serum concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone > 25 IU/l; and had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, or minor depressive disorder. Exclusion criteria were medical illness; hormone replacement therapy or psychoactive drug use in the previous 3 months; or presence of psychotic features or suicidal or severe aggressive behaviour. Follow up was 90%.


Patients were allocated to a 17β-estradiol patch, 100 …

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  • Source of funding: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)—São Paulo Research Foundation.

  • For correspondence: Dr C N Soares, Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 15 Parkman Street, WACC 812, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Fax +1 617 724 3028.

  • * See glossary.

  • Information provided by author.

  • CI calculated from data in article.