Smoking May Have a Negative Effect on Estrogen and Estrogen Replacement Pills
MIAMI, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2001 Surgeon General's Report on Women and Smoking released earlier this year indicated that a large percentage of women are unaware of the increased risk that smoking has on disorders associated with estrogen deficiency
``Research has indicated that cigarette smoking can interfere with the body's ability to utilize estrogen from pills,'' said Dr. Andrew London, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. ``This can result in low levels of estrogen in the blood, which can place women at greater risk of osteoporosis and adversely affect levels of LDL, bad cholesterol. These health consequences should be enough for women to quit. However, we need to be realistic; women in this age group are less likely than younger women to cease the habit.''
According to the Surgeon General's report, when women do decide to quit, it may take them up to three attempts before actually succeeding. In addition, trends indicate that the number of women who smoke is on the rise. While the percentage of female smokers has declined since 1965, the total number has grown. According to the North American Menopause Society, an additional 1,328,000 women joined the menopausal ranks last year, and 22% of them are smokers.
``Women have been misinformed for years,'' said Alvina Bey Bennett, RN, past chair of the National Coalition FOR Women AGAINST Tobacco. ``Tobacco advertising in the 60s and 70s lured women with images of liberation, glamour and sophistication. Now, the baby boomers who started smoking 30 or 40 years ago are not only dealing with the health consequences of smoking, but may have a false sense of security about the effectiveness of their hormone replacement therapy. The results of the Novogyne sponsored survey confirm what many in the healthcare industry suspected-women are unaware of their risks. We are now spelling it out for them-I just hope that they are finally listening.''
Options for Postmenopausal Smokers
For postmenopausal smokers, non-oral ERT is an alternative. One study suggests that when using an oral ERT, cigarette smoking decreases estrogen levels by 40-70%, but when non-oral ERT is used, smoking causes only minor changes in estrogen levels. This is because smoking increases the metabolism of oral estrogen in the liver, hindering the body's ability to utilize estrogen derived from pills and converting it to a less active form. Estrogen from patches is not affected by nicotine in the same way because it avoids first-pass liver metabolism.
``The beneficial effects of transdermal estrogen therapy are explained by the different path the estrogen takes once it enters the body,'' said Dr. London. ``Estrogen delivered transdermally goes through the skin straight into the bloodstream and to the tissues that have estrogen receptors. Oral estrogen, on the other hand, is metabolized by the liver before reaching estrogen receptive tissues. This may be especially important to smokers, since tobacco appears to increase the metabolism of oral estrogen by the liver, further diminishing the amount of estrogen that reaches these tissues.''
``Since women can expect to spend one-third to one-half of their lives post menopause, it is imperative that they be informed about the potential impact of smoking on their estrogen therapy,'' said Karen Cashmere, Director of Women's Health Marketing at Novogyne Pharmaceuticals. ``With the right information, women can make educated healthcare decisions for themselves.''
The survey and this public health outreach are sponsored by Novogyne Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture between Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation of East Hanover, New Jersey, and Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Miami, Florida. Since May 1998, Novogyne has been offering pharmaceutical products that enable physicians to better serve the medical needs of mature women.
Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVN - news), headquartered in Miami, Florida, is a leader in the development of transdermal and transmucosal drug delivery systems and technologies. Noven has developed and presently manufactures a series of leading-edge products, including the world's smallest estrogen transdermal delivery system, the United States' only combination estrogen/progestin transdermal delivery system, and the first transmucosal patch approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. With a wide range of additional products in development, Noven is committed to becoming the world's premier developer, manufacturer, and marketer of transdermal and transmucosal drug delivery systems. For more information on Noven and its products, see http://www.noven.com.
Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is an affiliate of the Novartis Group (NYSE: NVS - news), a world leader in healthcare with core businesses in pharmaceuticals, consumer health, generics, eye-care, and animal health. In 2000, the Group's ongoing businesses achieved sales of CHF 29.1 billion (USD 17.2 billion) and invested approximately CHF 4.0 billion (USD 2.4 billion) in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis employs about 67,600 people and operates in over 140 countries around the world. For further information please consult http://www.novartis.com.