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Relative effects of tamoxifen, raloxifene, and conjugated equine estrogens on cognition


Espeland, Mark A., Shumaker, Sally A., Limacher, Marian, Rapp, Stephen R., Bevers, Therese B., Barad, David H., Coker, Laura H., Gaussoin, Sarah A., Stefanick, Marcia L., Lane, Dorothy S., Maki, Pauline M., Resnick, Susan M.


Journal Of Women's Health (2002), Volume: 19, No.: 3, Pages.: 371-379

Year of Publication



Objective: To compare the relative effects of conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), raloxifene, and tamoxifen therapies on cognition among women aged > or =65 years.; Methods: Annual Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) examinations were used to assess global cognitive function in the two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials of CEE therapies of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) and the Cognition in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (CoSTAR). Analyses were limited to women who had 3MS testing at baseline and the first 3 years of follow-up and, because of potential ethnic-related differences between studies, to Caucasian women (WHIMS n = 6211, CoSTAR n = 250). Covariate adjustment was used to compare the postrandomization mean 3MS scores among the three active therapies with placebo therapy while controlling for differences between groups with respect to dementia risk factors.; Results: At baseline, the average (SD) 3MS scores by group were 95.24 (4.28) for placebo, 95.19 (4.33) for CEE, 94.60 (4.76) for raloxifene, and 95.02 (4.03) for tamoxifen. Compared with placebo, each active therapy was associated with a small mean relative deficit in 3MS scores of < or =0.5 units, which was fairly consistent between women with and without prior hysterectomy. Relative deficits were slightly greater for tamoxifen (p = 0.001) and less marked for raloxifene (p = 0.06) and CEE (p = 0.02) therapies. Relative deficits appeared to be greater among women with lower baseline 3MS scores: p = 0.009 (tamoxifen), p = 0.08 (raloxifene), and p = 0.03 (CEE).; Conclusions: Although unmeasured differences between trials may have confounded analyses, these findings raise the possibility that both tamoxifen and raloxifene adversely affect cognitive function in older women; however, the magnitude of the effect is small, and the long-term consequences are unknown.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Espeland_2010, doi = {10.1089/jwh.2009.1605}, url = {}, year = 2010, month = {mar}, publisher = {Mary Ann Liebert Inc}, volume = {19}, number = {3}, pages = {371--379}, author = {Mark A. Espeland and Sally A. Shumaker and Marian Limacher and Stephen R. Rapp and Therese B. Bevers and David H. Barad and Laura H. Coker and Sarah A. Gaussoin and Marcia L. Stefanick and Dorothy S. Lane and Pauline M. Maki and Susan M. Resnick}, title = {Relative Effects of Tamoxifen, Raloxifene, and Conjugated Equine Estrogens on Cognition}, journal = {Journal of Women{textquotesingle}s Health} }


adverse effects, aged, breast neoplasms, cognition, drug effects, estrogens conjugated usp, female, humans, middle aged, neuropsychological tests, postmenopause, prevention & control, raloxifene, risk factors, selective estrogen receptor modulators, tamoxifen

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Risk Factor Modification

Risk Factor Modifications

At risk population