Menopause

28 January 2009

Blow for menopause sufferers

A review of a number of herbal remedies commonly used to control menopause symptoms reveals little evidence that they are effective.

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A review of a number of herbal remedies commonly used to control menopause symptoms reveals little evidence that they are effective. The researchers also found a lack of standardisation or quality assurance for these preparations, according to a report in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

"There is no strong evidence either way for several herbal remedies commonly taken to relieve troublesome menopausal symptoms," editors of the report say.

Their review includes black cohosh, red clover, Dong quai, evening primrose oil, ginseng, wild yam extract, chaste tree, hops, sage and kava kava.

Lack of standardisation
The findings "raise several issues for women," the Bulletin's chief editor Dr Ike Iheanacho in London, UK, told Reuters Health. Potential problems include "quality issues, whether the product is in fact what it says it is on the box, and whether or not it will be the same product in the next box...There is a lack of standardisation of product preparation."

"Even if these products are safe, there is a lack of evidence showing they relieve symptoms," he added.

"The message is definitely not that women should not use these remedies, but that the patient should inform her physician about the product she is using, and it should be investigated to the degree possible." – (Martha Kerr/Reuters Health)

SOURCE: Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, January 2009.

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