Objectives: FM is a condition that preferentially affects women. Sex hormones, and in particular estrogens, have been shown to affect pain processing and pain sensitivity, and estrogen deficit has been considered a potentially promoting factor for FM.
However, the effects of estrogen treatment in patients suffering from FM have not been studied.
Here, we examined the effect of transdermal estrogen substitution treatment on experimental as well as self-estimated pain in women suffering from FM.
Methods: Twenty-nine post-menopausal women were randomized to either 8 weeks of treatment with transdermal 17beta-estradiol (50micrograms/day) or placebo according to a double-blind protocol.
A self-estimation of pain, a set of quantitative sensory tests measuring thresholds to temperature, thermal pain, cold pain and pressure pain, and a cold pressor test were performed on three occasions: before treatment, after 8 weeks of treatment and 20 weeks after cessation of treatment.
Results: Hormonal replacement treatment significantly increased serum estradiol levels as expected (P<0.01).
However, no differences in self-estimated pain were seen between treatment and placebo groups, nor were there any differences between the two groups regarding the results of the quantitative sensory tests or the cold pressor test at any of the examined time points.
Trial registration. ClinicalTrials.gov Registration; http://www.clinicaltrials.gov; NCT01087593.
Source: Rheumatology (Oxford), Nov 14, 2010. PMID: 21078629, by Stening KD, Eriksson O, Henriksson KG, Brynhildsen J, Lindh-Åstrand L, Berg G, Hammar M, Amandusson A, Blomqvist A. Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Division of Cell Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University; Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar; Department of Computer and Information Science (IDA), Division of Statistics, Linköping University; Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University; Department of Neuroscience, Division of Clinical Neurophysiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.