News Release

February 20, 2004

Contact: Kristina Goodnough, 860-679-3700

Black Quohosh Popular for Menopausal Symptoms, But Does It Work?

UConn Health Center Studies Herbal Supplement for Natural Relief of Menopausal Symptoms

FARMINGTON, CONN. - UConn Health Center is studying an herbal supplement containing black quohosh and other natural ingredients as a treatment for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

Many women prefer natural treatments, especially in the wake of a large government study that concluded that the risks of long-term hormone therapy for menopause outweighed the benefits. “Natural supplements have been on the market for years, but, despite their popularity, it is unclear which ones work best,” says Karen Prestwood, M.D., associate clinical professor at the UConn Center on Aging and principal investigator for the study.

The herbal supplement under study, Estroven, is manufactured by Amerifit Nutrition of Bloomfield, which is sponsoring and funding the study. “The company believes it has a good product and it would like to be able to demonstrate the beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms in a randomized, controlled study,” says Prestwood, who has a long interest in applying scientific scrutiny to alternative and complementary medical therapies.

To participate in the study, women must be between 40 and 65 years of age, must have gone through natural menopause, and be experiencing moderate to extreme post-menopausal symptoms. Additionally, they may not be using hormone replacement therapy or herbal supplements with soy or other phytoestrogens. Participants will be asked to take one of three treatments for a total of 14 weeks, with an option to continue in the study an additional 12 weeks.

Treatments and lab testing are provided at no charge to volunteers who may choose to receive a free three-month supply of the herbal supplement at the end of their participation.

The treatments are either a placebo or one of two herbal supplements containing black quohosh and isoflavones in different strengths and in different combinations with ingredients like B vitamins, calcium or cranberry juice.

“We will be looking at the effects on hot flashes as well as other symptoms of menopause like sleep disturbance and the foggy brain feeling,” says Prestwood.

Women, who are interested in participating in the study or would like more information about it, may call the Center on Aging at 860-679-3043. (IRB No. 04-058)

Prestwood is the principal investigator for another study related to the effects of soy protein on bone strength. This study is open for volunteers through the end of March 2004. (IRB No. 02-203).

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