Background: Anxiety is one of the main symptoms in menopause. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the association of Kava-Kava extracts with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and to compare it with HRT alone in the treatment of postmenopausal anxiety.
Methods: Forty women in physiological or surgical menopause for the past 1 to 12 years were enrolled in the study. Patients in physiological menopause were randomly assigned to one of the following protocols: TTS natural estrogens 50 micrograms/day with progestin and Kava-Kava extract at a dose of 100 mg (HRT + K, no. = 13); TTS natural estrogens 50 micrograms/day with progestin and a placebo product (HRT, no. = 9). Patients in surgical menopause were randomly assigned to one of the following protocols: TTS natural estrogens 50 micrograms/day and Kava-Kava extract at a dose of 100 mg (ERT + K, no. = 11); TTS natural estrogens 50 micrograms/day and a placebo product (ERT, no. = 7). Each treatment cycle lasted for 6 months. The outcome of the study was to evaluate changes in the HAMA score.
Results: A significant reduction in the HAMA score was observed after 3 and 6 months' treatment in all four groups of women studied. The groups treated with the therapeutic association (HRT + K, ERT + K) showed a greater reduction in the HAMA score compared to patients in the groups treated with hormones alone.
Conclusions: The results of this study show that the association of HRT and Kava-Kava extract may represent an excellent therapeutic tool for the treatment of women in stabilized menopause, in particular those suffering from anxiety and depression, given that Kava-Kava therapy accelerates the resolution of psychological symptoms without diminishing the therapeutic action of estrogens on organic disease, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.