Herbs for Menopause Go Under the Microscope - Pharmacologist and Herbal Expert Discusses Herbal Treatments for Menopause

PITTSBURGH, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As baby-boomers grow older, more and more women are entering perimenopause and menopause and interest in treatment options, especially natural treatment options, for menopause symptoms is increasing. Today, thirty-five million -- or one-third of -- American women are perimenopausal (the time surrounding menopause) and as many as 80% will experience menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and occasional sleeplessness.

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been used for years to relieve symptoms of menopause and protect bone health, research shows that only 15% of postmenopausal women currently use HRT, and more than 50% of those who begin HRT discontinue use after one year.(1)

For women who cannot or choose not to take HRT, there are a select few herbal remedies that provide options to relieve symptoms naturally. However, not all herbs are created equal. Many herbs and extracts have not been widely studied so their safety, efficacy and side effect profiles are not understood. Yet there are others -- such as RemiFemin(R) Menopause (marketed by GSK), which is made from an exclusive extract of black cohosh -- that have been studied in rigorous placebo controlled clinicals and other studies and can offer significant benefits.

"There are simple steps that women can take to help ensure that the herbal products they are using are safe and effective," says Steven Weisman, PhD, a pharmacologist and expert on herbal medicine. "First and foremost, when choosing an herbal for menopause symptoms, always be sure to carefully read the product label and determine the product's ingredients."

Women can find more information about menopause symptom management and choosing herbals wisely at www.womenswellnessmatters.com. The site provides women with a variety of materials, including an at-a-glance chart of the most common herbs used for menopause symptoms, tips sheets containing helpful hints on how to select their herbals, and how to talk to their doctors about herbal therapies, as well as a variety of product information developed to arm women with the information they need to make smart, safe choices about the use herbal therapies for menopause.

Women can also find support materials including an interactive journal, free samples and menopause symptom tracker at http://www.womenswellnessmatters.com to help women stay on their treatment regimen and get the most complete relief.

RemiFemin is manufactured for sale in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa by Schaper & Brummer. RemiFemin is marketed in the United States by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. The product is widely available in U.S. supermarkets, pharmacies, drug stores chains, discount department stores and health food stores nationwide.

GlaxoSmithKline -- one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies -- is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

To hear more from Dr. Weisman and find additional information about menopause symptom management and choosing herbals wisely, click on www.prnewswire.com/mpr/remifemin/.

(1) Ryan PJ, Harrison R, Blake GM. Compliance with hormone replacement therapy after screening for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1992;99:325-8.

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