Background: It is now recognized that Cimicifuga foetida extract is effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms. But the durations reported were usually short. This paper compares the clinical effects of different regimens of three-month course on climacteric symptoms in Chinese women, so as to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Cimicifuga foetida extract.
Methods: This was a prospective, randomized trial. Ninety-six early menopausal women were recruited and randomly assigned into 3 groups to take different kinds of medicine for 3 months; participants were given Cimicifuga foetida extract daily in group A (n = 32), given estradiol valerate and progesterone capsule cycle sequentially in group B (n = 32), and given estradiol valerate and medroxyprogesterone acetate cycle sequentially in group C (n = 32). The questionnaires of Kupperman menopause index, Menopause-Specific Quality of Life, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale were finished before and after the treatment. The status of vaginal bleeding and breast tenderness was recorded every day.
Results: Eighty-nine participants (89/96, 92.7%) completed the treatment. Kupperman menopause index decreased after taking the medicine for 3 months in each group (with all P < 0.001), but the score after the treatment was higher in group A than in the other 2 groups. Except for the score of sexual domain in group A (P = 0.103), the scores of all domains of the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life decreased significantly after the treatment in all groups (with all P ≤ 0.01). Score of anxiety decreased significantly in group A (P = 0.015) and B (P = 0.003). Incidence of breast tenderness was 12.9% (4/31) in group A, 36.7% (11/30) in group B, and 14.3% (4/28) in group C. Incidence of vaginal bleeding was 6.5% (2/31) in group A, 26.7% (8/30) in group B, and 82.1% (23/28) in group C.
Conclusions: Cimicifuga foetida extract is effective and safe in the treatment of menopausal syndrome. It is worth extending its use in the treatment of climacteric complaints, especially among those having contradiction for hormone replacement therapy.