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

and are commonly obtained at health food stores without a prescription. "Consequently, there are a variety of formulations available and we do not know if these products are truly effective or what effect they have on the body, especially with long-term use," continues Dr. Stika.

The vast majority of women (about 75%) will experience hot flashes during menopause and may exhibit other problems such as depression, mood swings, sleep disorders, vaginal dryness and joint pain.

There will be four blinded treatment groups in this Phase II study. Participants will randomly be assigned to either black cohosh (128 mg), red clover (120 mg), Placebo, or Standard Hormone Therapy (Prempro 0.625 mg CEE / 2.5 MPA) - an FDA approved drug. "Hormone therapy is still a valid choice for women with significant hot flashes because it is proven to work," said Dr. Shulman. "The purpose of this study is to determine if these botanicals are also effective under a rigorous scientific protocol. The majority of previous studies are only short-term."

Health effects and quality of life will be closely monitored over approximately 14 study visits. Lipid levels, bone turnover and effects on the endometrial tissue in the uterus will be assessed, as well as any long-term effects and possible risks associated with use of these botanicals.

Women are eligible to participate in this study if they meet the following requirements:

  • Healthy menopausal woman
  • No menstruation for at least six months
  • No prior hysterectomy
  • Experiencing a significant number of hot flashes
  • Non-smoker

Participants will receive a stipend for time and expenses. Interested women should contact Northwestern Memorial Hospital at 312-926-8400.

Black cohosh is a wildflower native to forests in North America. It was an ingredient of Lydia Pinkham's

Contact: Patty Keiler
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

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