Objective: Because hormone therapy use benefits sleep, sleep problems may occur after suspension. We tested the effects of short-term hormone therapy suspension on sleep problems.
Methods: A total of 1,704 women aged 45 to 80 years at Group Health were randomized to suspend hormone therapy for 1 or 2 months or to continue using hormone therapy. This study included 1,405 women willing to suspend hormone therapy use who returned both baseline and follow-up questionnaires, administered within approximately 3 months of randomization. We used generalized linear models to examine the relationships between hormone therapy suspension and nine individual items from a modified General Sleep Disturbance Scale (number of days experienced in the past week) and an overall sleep quality index at follow-up. We tested whether age, hormone therapy type, or duration of use modified these relationships.
Results: Suspension of hormone therapy for 1 or 2 months was associated with greater frequency of sleep problems for the overall sleep quality index and most individual sleep items. For example, the incident rate ratios for waking too early (95% CI) were 1.23 (1.10-1.38) for the women in the 1-month suspension group and 1.30 (1.17-1.45) for the 2-month suspension group, compared with women who continued the use of hormone therapy. Age and type of and duration of hormone therapy use did not modify these relationships.
Conclusions: Short-term hormone therapy suspension was related to moderately greater frequency of sleep problems. Alternative forms of sleep management may benefit women who choose to discontinue hormone therapy use.