Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Original publication




Journal article


Fam Pract

Publication Date



COVID-19, HRT, combined oral contraceptive pill, mortality