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Unfortunately, healthcare providers (physicians and nurses) have limited information about complementary and alternative medicine, with two-thirds reporting little or no knowledge of botanical dietary supplements, due to inadequate formal training.9 Most providers want additional information and are open to using these therapies in their perimenopausal and postmenopausal patients, either alone or in combination with conventional treatments. In general, meta-analyses have not demonstrated significant efficacy of various complementary and alternative medicine therapies. Purported treatments for depression with support from placebo-controlled trials include omega-3 fatty acids, St. Review of complementary and alternative medicine therapies for perimenopausal symptoms support the use of soy and black cohosh (phytoestrogens) for hot flashes, although long-term pro-estrogen effects have not been studied.19 Dong quai, evening primrose oil, vitamin E, red clover, and acupuncture have not convincingly demonstrated an effect on hot flashes. Yet, patients report significant efficacy with clinical use of botanical dietary supplements, without complaints of side effects (68%).21 This may represent a placebo effect, but may also mean that sufficiently powered, well-designed, placebo-controlled studies still need to be performed.
Whenever I see a new patient, I ask about concomitant medications, vitamins, herbals, and all other treatments. Despite the studies cited above, standard doses of vitamins appear to have positive results, particularly if used in combination.
Supplements such as phytoestrogens may improve mood, sexual arousal problems, and climacteric symptoms, such as hot flashes and problems with memory.
Lowest on my list for use in combination with standard medications are the botanicals or herbals.
Although many patients are using complementary and alternative medicine in addition to traditional medical therapies, there remains a dearth of systematic, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, due to the the lack of regulation of biological or botanical supplements.
E-newsletter Opt-inSent no more than 2–3 times each month, our E-Newsletter brings you recent findings and commentary from the psychiatric literature. Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine but is not based on evidence gathered using the scientific method.


The term alternative medicine is used in information issued by public bodies in the Commonwealth of Australia[9] the United Kingdom[10] and the United States of America.[11] Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine and health care providers varies from country to country, and state to state. About usQuanttes is international association for the promotion and development of quantum medicine.
Clayton is professor of psychiatric medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Providers who have been in practice for a longer period of time are more likely to have independently studied complementary and alternative medicine, to believe that botanicals were part of evidence-based medicine, to be knowledgeable about dietary supplements, and to have spoken to their patients about use of these therapies.
In my experience, daily dosing for 2–3 months may be necessary for full effect, although some individuals experience a benefit within the first week. It consists of a wide range of health care practices, products and therapies, using alternative medical diagnoses and treatments which typically have not been included in the degree courses of established medical schools or used in conventional medicine.
CAM is the abbreviation for Complementary and alternative medicine.[6][7] Integrative medicine (or integrative health) is the combination of the practices and methods of alternative medicine with conventional medicine.
In 1993, Eisenberg and colleagues1 reported that one in three people used complementary and alternative medical treatment in the previous year. Still, only 5% believed that herbs were more effective than prescription medications, and only 7% believed complementary and alternative medical options were safer than prescribed medication. In clinical practice, my first recommendations are for lifestyle modifications such as dietary adaptations (a balanced diet, avoidance of alcohol and caffeine), exercise, stress reduction, and a scheduled sleep-wake cycle.
For example, vitamin B100 complex plus folate (500 mcg) may benefit patients with depressive symptoms, those on hormonal contraceptives, and women with migraines. All hormonal supplements should be considered in the context of hormone levels, potential increase in cancer risk, and secondary effects on lipids.


An assessment of the utilization of complementary and alternative medication in women with gynecologic or breast malignancies.
Sex differences in motives for use of complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients. Beneficial effect of soy isoflavones on bone mineral content was modified by years since menopause, body weight, and calcium intake: a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Examples of alternative medicine include homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine and acupuncture. Women are even more likely than men to use complementary and alternative medicine,2  particularly among those with a chronic illness.
Use of yoga, meditation, acupuncture, phototherapy, and hypnosis also appear to have greater potential benefit than risk.
John’s Wort or ginkgo biloba, especially in combination with traditional antidepressant medications.
Other possible interventions include massage therapy, reflexology, chiropractic and biofeedback. Few of my patients have reported to me that they have taken kava-kava, echinacea, or valerian, so an absence of observable adverse effects is not surprising.



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