Can human placental extract relieve menopausal symptoms?

June 16, 2008

Eight weeks of treatment with human placental extract (HPE) improved menopausal symptoms and fatigue in middle-aged Korean women without affecting their risk profile for cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a small, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Eight weeks of treatment with human placental extract (HPE) improved menopausal symptoms and fatigue in middle-aged Korean women without affecting their risk profile for cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a small, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

For eight weeks, researchers subcutaneously injected either HPE or saline into the abdomens of 84 Korean women aged 40 to 64 years. While the Total Menopause Rating Scale score was similar between the groups at baseline, at 8 weeks the score of the HPE group decreased significantly compared with the placebo group (P=0.033), as did Fatigue Severity Scale and Visual Analog Scale scores (P=0.002 and P=0.001, respectively). Similarly, 17ß-estradiol levels were not significantly different between the groups at baseline, but were significantly higher in the HPE group than in the placebo group at 8 weeks (P=0.031). While this may have positive effects on menopausal symptoms, the authors of the study note that further studies will be needed to determine whether the higher E2 levels associated with HPE contribute to endometrial or breast disease.

Blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, insulin, insulin resistance index, lipid levels, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels were unaffected.

Kong MH, Lee EJ, Lee SY, et al. Effect of human placental extract on menopausal symptoms, fatigue, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in middle-aged Korean women. Menopause. 2008;15:296-303.