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A randomized, double-blind, multiple-dose escalation study of a Chinese herbal medicine preparation (Dang Gui Buxue Tang) for moderate to severe menopausal symptoms and quality of life in postmenopausal women

Wang, Chi Chiu MD, PhD1; Cheng, King Fai MD2; Lo, Wing Man RN2; Law, Cindy BNurs1; Li, Lu MD, PhD1; Leung, Ping Chung MD2; Chung, Tony Kwok Hung MD1; Haines, Christopher John MD1

doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e318267f64e
Original Articles

Objective: This study is a phase II clinical trial that aims to investigate the dose-response relationship of a Chinese herbal medicine preparation, Dang Gui Buxue Tang (DBT), with short-term menopausal symptoms and quality of life in local postmenopausal women.

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, multiple-dose escalation trial was performed in 60 postmenopausal women experiencing severe hot flashes and night sweats. The participants were randomized to receive DBT preparations at 1.5, 3.0, or 6.0 g/day for 12 weeks. The primary outcomes were vasomotor symptoms, Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS) score, and Menopause-Specific Quality of Life (MENQOL) score. Secondary outcomes included serum hormones and lipids.

Results: There were between-group differences in psychological/psychosocial (P = 0.015, GCS; P = 0.013, MENQOL) and somatic/physical (P = 0.019, GCS; P = 0.037, MENQOL) domains, and improvement was significantly greatest (P < 0.05) in the 6.0 g/day dose group. The frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats were significantly reduced in the 3.0 g/day (14.5%-21.2%, P < 0.05, hot flashes; 28.6%-39.6%, P < 0.05, night sweats) and 6.0 g/day (34.9%-37.4.0%, P < 0.01, hot flashes; 10.1%-12.8%, P < 0.01, night sweats) dose groups. The female hormones follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and 17β-estradiol, as well as the lipids total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, were not significantly different within groups and between groups.

Conclusions: DBT preparations at 6.0 g/day significantly improve physical and psychological scores and significantly reduce vasomotor symptoms from baseline. The treatment was well tolerated, with no serious adverse events noted during the 12-week intervention period. The changes do not affect hormones and lipid profiles.

From the 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and2Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR.

Received June 5, 2012; revised and accepted July 3, 2012.

Funding/support: This study was supported by the Area of Excellence Grant of the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong for the project “Chinese Medicine Research and Further Development.”

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Christopher John Haines, MD, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR. E-mail: cjhaines@cuhk.edu.hk

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.