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Black Cohosh as Alternative Therapy for Treating Menopause-Related Anxiety

This study has been completed.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
Information provided by:
University of Pennsylvania Identifier:
First received: July 14, 2005
Last updated: March 1, 2010
Last verified: March 2010

This study will determine the effectiveness of the herb black cohosh for treating menopause-related anxiety symptoms in women.

Study hypotheses: 1) Black cohosh will have a superior anti-anxiety effect compared to placebo. 2) Black cohosh will have a comparable safety profile to that of placebo.

Condition Intervention Phase
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Dietary Supplement: Black cohosh
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Black Cohosh Therapy for Menopause-Related Anxiety

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Pennsylvania:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Score on Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale [ Time Frame: 12 Weeks ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Quality of life and functional outcome ratings [ Time Frame: 12 Weeks ]

Estimated Enrollment: 50
Study Start Date: July 2005
Study Completion Date: December 2008
Primary Completion Date: December 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Anxiolytic Therapy
Dietary Supplement: Black cohosh

32 to 128 mg (black cohosh)

1 to 4 capsules daily (placebo)

Placebo Comparator: 2
Anxiolytic Therapy
Dietary Supplement: Black cohosh

32 to 128 mg (black cohosh)

1 to 4 capsules daily (placebo)

Detailed Description:

During menopause, up to 90% of women will experience symptoms of anxiety, such as nervousness, irritability, fatigue, muscle aches, depression, and low libido. Concern over the safety and effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy for relieving these symptoms has caused many women to seek alternative medical treatments. Data suggest that black cohosh has a direct effect on the neurotransmitters and receptors involved in anxiety. This study will determine whether black cohosh can effectively treat anxiety symptoms in menopausal women.

This study will last 12 weeks. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either black cohosh or placebo daily for the duration of the study. Self-report scales will be used to assess participants' anxiety symptoms and quality of life at the beginning and end of the study.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Currently experiencing menopause or postmenopausal
  • Have symptoms of menopause-related anxiety

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Any form of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) unrelated to menopause
  • Onset of GAD at least 3 years prior to menopause or at least 5 years after menstruation has stopped
  • Alcohol or drug dependence within 3 months prior to study entry
  • Allergy to black cohosh
  • History of hormone replacement therapy
  • Current use of vaginal estrogen cream or phytoestrogens
  • Current use of tranquilizers, antidepressants, or antianxiety therapies
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • History of estrogen-dependent cancer
  • History of endometrial hyperplasia (abnormal increase in cells) or endometrial cancer
  • Rapidly growing uterine fibroids
  • Abnormal finding upon gynecological examination that would interfere with the study
  • Abnormal breast examination or mammogram
  • Any unstable medical condition
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00120458

United States, Pennsylvania
Depression Research Unit, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104-3309
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Pennsylvania
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
Principal Investigator: Jay D. Amsterdam, MD University of Pennsylvania
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: Jay D. Amsterdam, M.D., University of Pennsylvania Identifier: NCT00120458     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21AT002289-01A1 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: July 14, 2005
Last Updated: March 1, 2010

Keywords provided by University of Pennsylvania:
Black Cohosh
Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on May 23, 2017