What medicines are most effective for treating menopausal women with cardiovascular disease?

An older woman looking at the instructions on a bottle of pills

Although significant progress has been made in treating cardiovascular disease (CVD) over the past decades, knowledge of sex-specific differences in the disease treatment have lagged behind.

Despite there being known differences in the pathophysiology of the development of cardiovascular disease, men and women are still treated in the same way, and this treatment is based on outcomes from randomized clinical trials of primarily male patients. One such treatment used in the prevention of CVD is the drug class of statins, which are used to lower cholesterol, in particular low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, to reduce risk of atherosclerosis. Differences have been found in the efficacy of the drug in men versus women.

Alexandra Lukey is hoping to improve our understanding of the combinations of medicines that are and are not beneficial, leading to specific recommendations around prescribing to menopausal women. She is undertaking the research project as part of her post-graduate studies under the supervision of Drs. Gavin Stuart and Gillian Hanley of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of British Columbia. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is funding the study.

“Through the use of the population-based data sets in BC, we intend to determine if MHT and statin therapy in combination will reduce risks for CVD more significantly than MHT or statin therapy alone,” says Ms. Lukey. “We will also determine if there are specific combinations of MHT and statin therapy that will be superior in terms of reduced risk for CVD.”

PopData will link five data sets from the BC Ministry of Health for the project.