The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Combining black cohosh with tamoxifen in breast cancer therapy

    Anti-hormonal therapy of breast cancer patients with the anti-estrogen tamoxifen (Nolvadex) often induces or aggravates menopausal complaints.

    Researchers at the University Hospital, in Zurich, Switzerland measured the response to black cohosh.

    First, the details.

    • 50 breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen were treated with an isopropanolic extract of black cohosh (1-4 tablets, 2.5 mg) for 6 months.
    • Patients recorded their complaints before and after 1, 3, and 6 months of therapy using the menopause rating scale (MRS II).
    • All patients had surgery, most had undergone radiation therapy (87%), and approximately 50% had received chemotherapy.

    And, the results.

    • The reduction of the total MRS II score under black cohosh treatment from 18 to 14 was statistically significant.
    • Hot flashes, sweating, sleep problems, and anxiety improved.
    • Urogenital and musculoskeletal complaints did not change.
    • 90% reported the tolerability of the black cohosh extract as very good or good.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Black cohosh extract seems to be a reasonable treatment approach in tamoxifen treated breast cancer patients with predominantly psychovegetative (eg, sleep) symptoms.”

    Too bad they didn’t include a placebo group.

    1/25/11 21:34 JR

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