Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has become more popular as a therapy for symptom relief among menopause-aged women. The aim of this study was to analyze the utilization of TCM for climacteric women in Taiwan.
Methods: The study analyzed frequency distributions among 19 379 women aged 45-55 years, recruited from a random-sampled cohort of 200 000 people from the National Health Insurance database. Data mining was conducted to explore the co-prescription patterns for finished herbal products (FHP).
Result: There were 19 379 women aged 45-55 years in the sample; of these, 12 572 (64.9%) utilized TCM services at least once. A total of 4078 (21.0%) of the 19 379 climacteric women utilized 145 200 (79.2%) TCM visits. Of these, 39 802 (21.7%) visits were because of diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, of which more than half were treated with acupuncture and traumatology manipulative therapies. There were 28 154 visits with FHP prescriptions because of non-specific symptoms and ill-defined conditions, and Jia-wei-xiao-yao-san was the most frequent formula. Nearly two-thirds of FHP contained more than two herbal formulae.
Conclusions: Women of climacteric age in Taiwan utilized TCM more often than other age groups. To deal with multiple symptoms and/or diseases among climacteric women, new prescription patterns of combining two or more herbal formulae have evolved. Studies on safety issues and drug-herb interactions are warranted for future research.