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Northwestern Memorial researchers study role of botanicals in management of menopausal symptoms

CHICAGO - Researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in collaboration with researchers at the UIC/NIH Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements and Northwestern University, are seeking menopausal women to participate in a randomized study to test the effectiveness of two herbal products - black cohosh and red clover - in relieving symptoms associated with menopause. This one-year study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), will also test the safety of these products when used for an extended period of time.

"Our goal is to determine the role of botanicals in the management of menopause," explains Lee Shulman, M.D., chief of the division of reproductive genetics at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "Furthermore, we will test their ability to relieve additional menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia, mood disturbances and sexual problems."

Black cohosh and red clover are plant-based dietary supplements that act similar to female hormones in the body. "Many women already use these products for the relief of menopausal symptoms; however, studies have not yet been conducted to show these botanicals should replace hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as the first line of treatment for the short-term relief of hot flashes," explains Cate Stika, M.D., chief of the division of obstetrics and gynecology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and associate professor of medicine, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "This study is particularly important in light of the recent confusion surrounding the use of HRT. Many women are asking about alternatives and we need to be able to provide a solid, evidence-based response."

Because these products are considered food supplements, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
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Contact: Patty Keiler
pkeiler@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
3-Mar-2004


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