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Review
July 24, 2006

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms: A Systematic Evidence Review

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Medical Informatics, Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center (Drs Nedrow, Miller, and Nelson and Mss Walker, Nygren, and Huffman); Clinical Epidemiology (Dr Nelson and Mss Walker, Nygren, and Huffman); and Medicine (Drs Nedrow, Miller, and Nelson), Center for Women's Health (Drs Nedrow and Miller), Oregon Health and Science University; and Women's and Children's Health Research Center, Providence Health System (Dr Nelson), Portland.

Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(14):1453-1465. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.14.1453
Abstract

Background  Nearly half of adults in the United States use complementary and alternative therapies each year for a variety of reasons. These therapies are increasingly popular among women seeking alternatives to treatment with estrogen for managing menopausal symptoms. The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of complementary and alternative therapies in the management of menopausal symptoms.

Data Sources  MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Cochrane Library database, MANTIS, and AMED.

Study Selection  Full-text, English-language, randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses comparing a complementary or alternative therapy with placebo or control for treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Data Extraction  All eligible trials were reviewed, abstracted into evidence tables, and rated for quality.

Data Synthesis  Seventy randomized controlled trials met inclusion criteria. Forty-eight studies of phytoestrogens and other biologically based agents showed mixed results. Smaller numbers of studies using mind-body, energy, manipulative, and body-based therapies and whole medical systems showed little benefit in treating menopausal symptoms.

Conclusions  Although individual trials suggest benefits from certain therapies, data are insufficient to support the effectiveness of any complementary and alternative therapy in this review for the management of menopausal symptoms. Many of these potential therapies warrant further study in trials with rigorous scientific designs to determine benefit and safety.

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