We sought to assess the effects of raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, on arterial physiology and biology in postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease (CAD).
Raloxifene improves endothelial function and markers of vascular health in vitro in experimental animals and in healthy postmenopausal women. In women whose arteries are affected by advanced atherosclerosis, however, the vascular effects of estrogen receptor modulation are unknown.
We conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of raloxifene, 60 mg/day for 8 weeks, in 33 consecutively eligible and consenting postmenopausal women age 50 to 75 years with known CAD. Parameters measured at the beginning and end of each treatment period included brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), the primary end point, as well as nitroglycerin-induced dilation, peripheral artery tonometry, serum lipoprotein levels, and markers of vascular function, including urinary prostaglandin, serum endothelin-1, and fibrinogen levels.
Baseline FMD was impaired in these women, as expected (2.84 ± 0.60%), but there was no significant difference between the effect of raloxifene (0.26 ± 0.66% increase) and placebo (0.01 ± 0.63% decrease) on this marker of endothelial function (p = 0.82). No significant raloxifene-related effects were observed on derived aortic pressure, pulse pressure, augmentation index, total cholesterol or low- and high-density lipoprotein subfractions, markers of thrombosis, or vasoconstrictor or vasodilator substances.
In postmenopausal women with treated CAD, selective estrogen receptor modulation with raloxifene does not improve a comprehensive set of parameters examining vascular function and serum lipoprotein levels.