Alternative menopause meds putting women at risk
HEALTH experts hold fears for the estimated 500,000 Aussie women using complementary and alternative medicines to treat menopause symptoms.
Primrose oil, ginseng and black cohosh are popular remedies for hot flushes and night sweats.
However, researchers at Monash University say the treatments are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.
Professor Susan Davis and Dr Roisin Worsley believe half-a-million women use at least one natural remedy to treat menopause.
"Applying our findings to the 3.7 million Australian women aged 40-65 years would mean that 490 000 women had used CAMs for VMS in the past month, and 303 000 would have consulted a CAM practitioner for menopausal symptoms in the past year", the researchers wrote in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia
Phytoestrogens, the most common alternative treatments, have not been shown to be effective for treating symptoms, either as food supplements or as concentrated tablets, the researchers wrote in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.
"Evening primrose oil, black cohosh and ginseng, the other commonly used CAMs for VMS, overall appear to be no more effective than placebo," the researchers wrote in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia
"Given the lack of evidence regarding benefit of CAMs for alleviating VMS, as well as the potential adverse effects and their high cost, the continuing use of these CAMs for this purpose cannot be supported."
The researchers said they were worried doctors and other health practitioners were recommending the treatments.
"It is a cause for concern that a sizeable proportion of Australian practitioners are recommending ineffective therapies", Professor Davis and Dr Worsley said.
"Health care providers need to actively guide women in the management of VMS and other menopausal symptoms."
- APN NEWSDESK