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Reports that HRT may increase risk of dementia spark interest in herbal options for menopause symptoms

PITTSBURGH, PA., May 29 2003 -- The current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) contains data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) showing that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increased the risk for dementia in postmenopausal women aged 65 years or older. In addition, HRT did not prevent mild cognitive impairment in these women.

This new research, fresh on the heels of recent findings that HRT does not improve overall quality of life in the short-term, has led to renewed interest and patient-physician dialogue about alternatives for hot flash relief. In fact, research shows that more women than ever before are turning to herbal treatments for menopause symptom relief.

While HRT can be used safely for short-term relief of some menopause symptoms, research shows that many women cannot or choose not to take HRT and are seeking herbal remedies to relieve symptoms without hormones.

"When considering herbal treatments for menopause, it's important for women to choose wisely because not all herbals are created equal," advises Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and one of the country's leading experts on botanical medicine and integrative approaches to health. "Although the news about the WHI was very concerning for many women, the silver lining is that it led more women to talk to their health professionals about menopause, about botanical treatments such as soy and black cohosh and ask important questions, about which symptom treatment -- if any -- is most appropriate for them," added Dr. Low Dog.

Menopause symptoms last on average for 4-5 years and can last up to 10 years for some women, seriously disrupting women's lives. Luckily, there are options for keeping cool as temperatures rise. "For my patients who are perimenopausal, I first recommend lifestyle changes including exercise and a healthy diet that includes soy and calcium-rich foods," said Dr. Low Dog. "If additional treatment is necessary and she prefers not to take hormone replacement therapy, I recommend RemiFemin to help ease the physical and emotional symptoms that can accompany perimenopause including hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and related occasional sleeplessness."

RemiFemin Menopause -- which is made from an exclusive extract of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) -- has been studied in controlled clinicals and can offer significant benefits. A recent report in the Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that black cohosh is one of the only herbal remedies shown to be effective for menopausal symptoms, especially hot flashes. In addition, two other reports published in 2002 -- one in Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine and one in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment -- have concluded that RemiFemin is safe, effective and estrogen- free.

Black cohosh is a member of the buttercup family and has a history that goes back hundreds of years to Native American Indians who used it for a variety of "female problems". RemiFemin has been sold around the world for more than 40 years and currently is marketed in the United States by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. No significant drug interactions have been reported for Remifemin in its 40 years of worldwide use and adverse events have been limited to mild, temporary stomach upset.

Women can find more information about menopause symptom management and choosing herbals wisely at The site provides women with interactive tools and information about menopause, about the most common treatments used for menopause symptoms and information on how to talk to their doctors about herbal therapies. The site also offers support materials, including an interactive journal, free product samples and menopause symptom tracker to help ensure the most complete relief.

RemiFemin is manufactured in Germany by Schaper & Brummer and marketed in the United States by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. The product is widely available in U.S. supermarkets, pharmacies, drug store chains, discount department stores and club stores nationwide.

Source: GlaxoSmithKline

Posted: May 2003