Working… Menu

Alternative Therapies for Menopause: A Randomized Trial

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00061711
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : June 4, 2003
Last Update Posted : December 11, 2009
Information provided by:
National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Brief Summary:
This randomized, controlled trial will evaluate the efficacy and safety of three alternative approaches utilizing phytoestrogens to treat hot flashes and night sweats in peri- and post-menopausal women. The treatments were chosen because of the scientific evidence supporting a possible benefit, the availability of products with adequate quality control, and their frequency of use in naturopathic medicine. RECRUITMENT FOR THIS STUDY SHOULD END BY AUGUST 1, 2003.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Menopause Hot Flashes Drug: Hormone Replacement Therapy Drug: Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh) Drug: Multibotanical phytoestrogen formula Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Over 17 million U.S. women are in the peri- and post-menopausal age range (45 - 55), and by the year 2015 nearly half of U.S. women will be post-menopausal. Of these, 25-33% will experience moderate to severe menopausal symptoms, and all will be faced with decisions related to maintaining their health through mid-life and beyond. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the standard pharmacologic intervention for menopausal symptoms against which other therapies are measured. Concerns about breast cancer and thromboembolism risk, the need for safe alternatives for symptom relief among women in whom HRT is contraindicated, and the resistance to HRT due to its side effects fuel the search for alternatives.

The primary aim of this randomized, controlled trial is to compare the effects of three alternative treatments utilizing phytoestrogens, HRT, and placebo on the frequency and intensity of vasomotor symptoms measured by the Wiklund Menopause Symptom Checklist and daily vasomotor symptom diaries. The alternative treatments chosen for the study are a single herbal formula of black cohosh, a multibotanical formula containing black cohosh, alfalfa, boron, chasteberry, dong quai, false unicorn, licorice, oats, pomegranate, and Siberian ginseng, and soy diet counseling in addition to the multibotanical formula.

The findings of the Women's Health Initiative study published in July 2002 gave the medical and research communities new information about the long-term risk of HRT use. In response to these findings, the study design allows women to be randomized either to the 5-arm trial that includes HRT, or to be randomized only to 4 of the 5 arms: one of the three herbal groups or placebo, without the chance of being assigned to HRT.

Secondary aims are to compare the effects of three alternative treatments, HRT, and placebo on:

  1. vaginal cytology (vaginal maturation index)
  2. serum lipids (total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides)
  3. bone mineral density (hip and spine dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scan)
  4. glucose metabolism (insulin, fasting blood glucose)
  5. clotting factors (fibrinogen, PAI-1).

Approximately 400 peri- and post-menopausal women will be recruited and randomized to one of 5 or one of 4 treatment arms for one year. Primary and secondary outcomes will be measured at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months. Changes in outcomes will be compared between the groups taking alternative treatments and those in the HRT and placebo groups.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Enrollment : 355 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Study Start Date : July 2000
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2005
Actual Study Completion Date : December 2005

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Menopause

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   45 Years to 55 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria

  1. Female, aged 45-55.
  2. Peri- or post-menopausal, defined as having no menstrual periods for at least 12 months prior to study entry, or skipping at least one menstrual period in the 12 months prior to study entry. Peri- or post-menopausal status will be determined for candidates who have had the uterus removed by an assessment of blood follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Women with an FSH level higher than 20 mlU/mL will be eligible for the study.
  3. Experiencing an average of 2 or more hot flashes or night sweats per day, of which 6 or more must be of moderate or greater intensity over two weeks.
  4. Normal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) measured prior to study entry, defined as 0.4 - 5.0 ulU/ML.
  5. Proof of negative mammogram within two years prior to randomization. Subjects may provide copies of the mammogram results or a letter from their primary care provider.
  6. Must provide informed consent.
  7. Not at high risk for medical complications that might affect the subject's ability to complete the trial without a serious co-morbid event, based on medical history, physical examination and laboratory screening evaluation.

Exclusion Criteria

  1. Mentally or legally incapacitated such that informed consent cannot be obtained.
  2. Use of hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives within the past three months.
  3. Use of alternative or complementary medicines or herbs for menopausal symptoms within the past one month.
  4. History of any illness or having significant abnormalities on prestudy clinical or laboratory evaluation such that in the opinion of the investigator participating in this study might pose an unacceptable risk to the subject.
  5. The subject has a medical history of any of the following contraindications to HRT: breast cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial hyperplasia, angina treated with medication, myocardial infarction, revascularization surgery, coronary angioplasty, stroke, blood clots, active chronic liver disease, or nephrotic syndrome.
  6. Bone mineral density of the hip or spine more than two standard deviations below the age-specific mean.
  7. bilateral oophorectomy.
  8. Current use of any of the following medications: tamoxifen, raloxifene, bisphosphonates, cholesterol-lowering medications, prescription blood-thinners, or oral steroids.
  9. Pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  10. Baseline blood pressure greater than 160/95 mm Hg.
  11. Alergy to soybeans or soy protein.
  12. Unable to swallow pills.
  13. Current participation in another investigational drug trial.
  14. Intention to move within the next 12 months rendering follow-up per the protocol impossible.
  15. Noncompliance in the procedures involved with the screening visit or run-in trial. To be compliant, subjects must take at least 80% of the run-in medication (can miss 2-1/2 days) and complete at least 80% of the baseline symptom diaries (can miss 3 days of the hot flash and night sweats diaries, must complete all Wiklund checklists).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00061711

Layout table for location information
United States, Washington
Center for Health Studies Research Clinic
Seattle, Washington, United States, 98101
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Publications of Results:
Other Publications:
Layout table for additonal information Identifier: NCT00061711    
Other Study ID Numbers: AG0003
5R01AG017057-03 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: June 4, 2003    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 11, 2009
Last Verified: December 2009
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Hot Flashes
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Estrogens, Non-Steroidal