Black cohosh and fluoxetine in the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms: a prospective, randomized trial

Adv Ther. 2007 Mar-Apr;24(2):448-61. doi: 10.1007/BF02849914.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of fluoxetine and black cohosh in the treatment of women with postmenopausal symptoms. A total of 120 healthy women with menopausal symptoms were recruited to this prospective study with a follow-up period of 6 mo. They were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups and were treated with fluoxetine or black cohosh. After entry into the study, patients were examined at the first, second, third, and sixth months of the treatment period. The women kept diaries in which they reported the daily number and intensity of hot flushes and night sweats. In addition, at the beginning and end of the third month, they completed questionnaires consisting of a modified Kupperman Index, Beck's Depression Scale, and a RAND-36 Quality-of-Life Questionnaire. Statistically significant differences were noted in the Kupperman Index and Beck's Depression Scale at the end of the third month in both groups compared with baseline values. In the black cohosh group, the Kupperman Index decreased significantly compared with that in the fluoxetine group by the end of the third month. On the other hand, in the fluoxetine group, Beck's Depression Scale decreased significantly compared with that in the black cohosh group. Monthly scores for hot flushes and night sweats decreased significantly in both groups; however, black cohosh reduced monthly scores for hot flushes and night sweats to a greater extent than did fluoxetine. At the end of the sixth month of treatment, black cohosh reduced the hot flush score by 85%, compared with a 62% result for fluoxetine. By the sixth month of the study, 40 women had discontinued the study--20 (33%) in the fluoxetine group and 20 (33%) in the black cohosh group. Compared with fluoxetine, black cohosh is more effective for treating hot flushes and night sweats. On the other hand, fluoxetine is more effective in improvements shown on Beck's Depression Scale.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cimicifuga*
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Menopause / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine