Effects of a combination of Hypericum perforatum and Vitex agnus-castus on PMS-like symptoms in late-perimenopausal women: findings from a subpopulation analysis.
J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Sep;15(9):1045-8. PMID: 19757982
BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that some of the symptoms typically attributed to menopause may be more related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) than menopause, as perimenopausal women appear to be more prone to PMS-like symptoms, or at least to tolerate them less well. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a phytotherapeutic intervention comprising a combination of Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) and Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree/berry) in the management of PMS-like symptoms in perimenopausal women. DESIGN: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled parallel trial was conducted over 16 weeks on menopause-related symptoms. Data on PMS-like symptoms were collected at 4-weekly intervals from a small subgroup of late-perimenopausal women (n = 14) participating in this study. The primary endpoint was PMS scores measured on the Abrahams Menstrual Symptoms Questionnaire, comprising the subclusters of PMS-A (anxiety), PMS-D (depression), PMS-H (hydration), and PMS-C (cravings). Herbal combination therapy or placebo tablets were administered twice daily. RESULTS: At the end of the 16-week treatment phase, analyses of covariance showed the herbal combination to be superior to placebo for total PMS-like scores (p = 0.02), PMS-D (p = 0.006), and PMS-C clusters (p = 0.027). The active treatment group also showed significant reductions in the anxiety (p = 0.003) and hydration (p = 0.002) clusters, using paired-samples t tests. Results of trend analyses showed significant treatment group effects across the five phases for total PMS and all subscales, all in the clinically expected direction. No significant trends were evident in the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a potentially significant clinical application for this phytotherapeutic combination in PMS-like symptoms among perimenopausal women. Further research is warranted through a randomized, controlled trial dedicated to investigation of these symptoms.