Limited recent observational data have suggested that there may be a protective effect of oestrogen on the severity of COVID-19 disease. Our aim was to investigate the association between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) use and the likelihood of death in women with COVID-19.
We undertook a retrospective cohort study using routinely collected computerized medical records from the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) primary care database. We identified a cohort of 1,863,478 women over 18 years of age from 465 general practices in England. Mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to quantify the association between HRT or COCP use and all-cause mortality among women diagnosed with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in unadjusted and adjusted models.
There were 5,451 COVID-19 cases within the cohort. HRT was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality in COVID-19 (adjusted OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.94). There were no reported events for all-cause mortality in women prescribed COCPs. This prevented further examination of the impact of COCP.
We found that HRT prescription within 6 months of a recorded diagnosis of COVID-19 infection was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality. Further work is needed in larger cohorts to examine the association of COCP in COVID-19, and to further investigate the hypothesis that oestrogens may contribute a protective effect against COVID-19 severity.

© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.