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1.  Health related quality of life after combined hormone replacement therapy: randomised controlled trial 
Objective To assess the effect of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on health related quality of life.
Design Randomised placebo controlled double blind trial.
Setting General practices in United Kingdom (384), Australia (94), and New Zealand (24).
Participants Postmenopausal women aged 50-69 at randomisation; 3721 women with a uterus were randomised to combined oestrogen and progestogen (n=1862) or placebo (n=1859). Data on health related quality of life at one year were available from 1043 and 1087 women, respectively.
Interventions Conjugated equine oestrogen 0.625 mg plus medroxyprogesterone acetate 2.5/5.0 mg or matched placebo orally daily for one year.
Main outcome measures Health related quality of life and psychological wellbeing as measured by the women’s health questionnaire. Changes in emotional and physical menopausal symptoms as measured by a symptoms questionnaire and depression by the Centre for Epidemiological Studies depression scale (CES-D). Overall health related quality of life and overall quality of life as measured by the European quality of life instrument (EuroQol) and visual analogue scale, respectively.
Results After one year small but significant improvements were observed in three of nine components of the women’s health questionnaire for those taking combined HRT compared with those taking placebo: vasomotor symptoms (P<0.001), sexual functioning (P<0.001), and sleep problems (P<0.001). Significantly fewer women in the combined HRT group reported hot flushes (P<0.001), night sweats (P<0.001), aching joints and muscles (P=0.001), insomnia (P<0.001), and vaginal dryness (P<0.001) than in the placebo group, but greater proportions reported breast tenderness (P<0.001) or vaginal discharge (P<0.001). Hot flushes were experienced in the combined HRT and placebo groups by 30% and 29% at trial entry and 9% and 25% at one year, respectively. No significant differences in other menopausal symptoms, depression, or overall quality of life were observed at one year.
Conclusions Combined HRT started many years after the menopause can improve health related quality of life.
Trial registration ISRCTN 63718836.
PMCID: PMC2518695  PMID: 18719013
2.  Advice to use topical or oral ibuprofen for chronic knee pain in older people: randomised controlled trial and patient preference study  
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2007;336(7636):138-142.
Objective To determine whether older patients with chronic knee pain should be advised to use topical or oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Design Randomised controlled trial and patient preference study.
Setting 26 general practices.
Participants People aged ≥50 with knee pain: 282 in randomised trial and 303 in preference study.
Interventions Advice to use topical or oral ibuprofen.
Primary outcome measures WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities) osteoarthritis index, major and minor adverse effects.
Results Changes in global WOMAC scores at 12 months were equivalent. In the randomised trial the difference (topical minus oral) was two points (95% confidence interval −2 to 6); in the preference study, it was one point (−4 to 6). There were no differences in major adverse effects in the trial or study. The only significant differences in secondary outcomes were in the randomised trial. The oral group had more respiratory adverse effects (17% v 7%,95% confidence interval for difference −17% to −2%), the change in serum creatinine was 3.7 mmol/l less favourable (0.9 µmol/l to 6.5 µmol/l); and more participants changed treatments because of adverse effects (16% v 1%, −16% to −5%). In the topical group more participants had chronic pain grade III or IV at three months, and more participants changed treatment because of ineffectiveness.
Conclusions Advice to use oral or topical preparations has an equivalent effect on knee pain over one year, and there are more minor side effects with oral NSAIDs. Topical NSAIDs may be a useful alternative to oral NSAIDs.
Trial registration ISRCTN 79353052.
PMCID: PMC2206271  PMID: 18056743
3.  Main morbidities recorded in the women's international study of long duration oestrogen after menopause (WISDOM): a randomised controlled trial of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2007;335(7613):239.
Objective To assess the long term risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy (combined hormone therapy versus placebo, and oestrogen alone versus combined hormone therapy).
Design Multicentre, randomised, placebo controlled, double blind trial.
Setting General practices in UK (384), Australia (91), and New Zealand (24).
Participants Postmenopausal women aged 50-69 years at randomisation. At early closure of the trial, 56 583 had been screened, 8980 entered run-in, and 5692 (26% of target of 22 300) started treatment.
Interventions Oestrogen only therapy (conjugated equine oestrogens 0.625 mg orally daily) or combined hormone therapy (conjugated equine oestrogens plus medroxyprogesterone acetate 2.5/5.0 mg orally daily). Ten years of treatment planned.
Main outcome measures Primary outcomes: major cardiovascular disease, osteoporotic fractures, and breast cancer. Secondary outcomes: other cancers, death from all causes, venous thromboembolism, cerebrovascular disease, dementia, and quality of life.
Results The trial was prematurely closed during recruitment, after a median follow-up of 11.9 months (interquartile range 7.1-19.6, total 6498 women years) in those enrolled, after the publication of early results from the women's health initiative study. The mean age of randomised women was 62.8 (SD 4.8) years. When combined hormone therapy (n=2196) was compared with placebo (n=2189), there was a significant increase in the number of major cardiovascular events (7 v 0, P=0.016) and venous thromboembolisms (22 v 3, hazard ratio 7.36 (95% CI 2.20 to 24.60)). There were no statistically significant differences in numbers of breast or other cancers (22 v 25, hazard ratio 0.88 (0.49 to 1.56)), cerebrovascular events (14 v 19, 0.73 (0.37 to 1.46)), fractures (40 v 58, 0.69 (0.46 to 1.03)), and overall deaths (8 v 5, 1.60 (0.52 to 4.89)). Comparison of combined hormone therapy (n=815) versus oestrogen therapy (n=826) outcomes revealed no significant differences.
Conclusions Hormone replacement therapy increases cardiovascular and thromboembolic risk when started many years after the menopause. The results are consistent with the findings of the women's health initiative study and secondary prevention studies. Research is needed to assess the long term risks and benefits of starting hormone replacement therapy near the menopause, when the effect may be different.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 63718836
PMCID: PMC1939792  PMID: 17626056
4.  The Women's international study of long-duration oestrogen after menopause (WISDOM): a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Women's Health  2007;7:2.
At the time of feasibility work and final design of the trial there was no randomised control trial evidence for the long-term risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Observational studies had suggested that long term use of estrogen was likely to be associated, amongst other things, with reduced risks of osteoporosis and ischaemic heart disease and increased risks of breast and endometrial cancer. Concomitant use of progestogens had been shown to protect against endometrial cancer, but there were few data showing how progestogen might affect estrogen actions on other conditions. Disease specific risks from observational studies suggested that, overall, long-term HRT was likely to be beneficial. Several studies showed that mortality from all causes was lower in HRT users than in non-users. Some secondary cardiovascular prevention trials were ongoing but evidence was also required for a range of outcomes in healthy women. The WISDOM trial was designed to compare combined estrogen and progestogen versus placebo, and estrogen alone versus combined estrogen and progestogen. During the development of WISDOM the Women's Health Initiative trial was designed, funded and started in the US.
Randomised, placebo, controlled, trial.
The trial was set in general practices in the UK (384), Australia (94), and New Zealand (24). In these practices 284175 women aged 50–69 years were registered with 226282 potentially eligible. We sought to randomise 22300 postmenopausal women aged 50 – 69 and treat for ten years. The interventions were: conjugated equine estrogens, 0.625 mg orally daily; conjugated equine estrogens plus medroxyprogesterone acetate 2.5/5.0 mg orally daily; matched placebo. Primary outcome measures were: major cardiovascular disease, osteoporotic fractures, breast cancer and dementia. Secondary outcomes were: other cancers, all cause death, venous thromboembolism and cerebro-vascular disease.
The trial was prematurely closed during recruitment following publication of early results from the Women's Health Initiative. At the time of closure, 56583 had been screened, 8980 entered run-in, and 5694 (26% of target of 22,300) randomised. Those women randomised had received a mean of one year of therapy, mean age was 62.8 years and total follow-up time was 6491 person years.
The WISDOM experience leads to some simple messages. The larger a trial is the more simple it needs to be to ensure cost effective and timely delivery. When a trial is very costly and beyond the resources of one country, funders and investigators should make every effort to develop international collaboration with joint funding.
PMCID: PMC1828722  PMID: 17324282
5.  A randomised controlled trial investigating the effect of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on cognitive and retinal function in cognitively healthy older people: the Older People And n-3 Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (OPAL) study protocol [ISRCTN72331636] 
Nutrition Journal  2006;5:20.
The number of individuals with age-related cognitive impairment is rising dramatically in the UK and globally. There is considerable interest in the general hypothesis that improving the diet of older people may slow the progression of cognitive decline. To date, there has been little attention given to the possible protective role of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPs) most commonly found in oily fish, in age-related loss of cognitive function. The main research hypothesis of this study is that an increased dietary intake of n-3 LCPs will have a positive effect on cognitive performance in older people in the UK.
To test this hypothesis, a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial will be carried out among adults aged 70–79 years in which the intervention arm will receive daily capsules containing n-3 LCP (0.5 g/day docosahexaenoic acid and 0.2 g/day eicosapentaenoic acid) while the placebo arm will receive daily capsules containing olive oil. The main outcome variable assessed at 24 months will be cognitive performance and a second major outcome variable will be retinal function. Retinal function tests are included as the retina is a specifically differentiated neural tissue and therefore represents an accessible window into the functioning of the brain.
The overall purpose of this public-health research is to help define a simple and effective dietary intervention aimed at maintaining cognitive and retinal function in later life. This will be the first trial of its kind aiming to slow the decline of cognitive and retinal function in older people by increasing daily dietary intake of n-3 LCPs. The link between cognitive ability, visual function and quality of life among older people suggests that this novel line of research may have considerable public health importance.
PMCID: PMC1564406  PMID: 16945130

Results 1-5 (5)