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linical evidence of Chinese medicine therapies for depression in women during perimenopause and menopause

Di YM1Yang L2Shergis JL1Zhang AL1Li Y2Guo X2Xue CC3Lu C4.

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102071. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.019. Epub 2019 Mar 28.





Depression is common in women during perimenopause and menopause. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) are often utilized by these women. However, the efficacy and safety of these treatments have not been systematically evaluated.


We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Nine English and Chinese databases were searched and search terms included perimenopause, menopause, depression, Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, RCTs, and their synonyms. Methodological quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool.


A total of 18 RCTs were identified (6 CHM, 11 acupuncture related therapies, 1 combination of CHM and acupuncture). For Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression (HRSD) and Kuppermans Index of Menopause, tuina-massage, combined therapy of CHM plus acupuncture showed significant benefits at end of treatment compared to antidepressants. Either CHM and acupuncture reduced HRSD scores, indicating less severe depression, showing comparable effects to antidepressants.


CHM and acupuncture treatment in perimenopause and menopausal women resulted in reduced severity of depression. Results should be interpreted with caution given the small number of studies included in this review and further RCTs are warranted to validate findings from this review.