CancerMenopauseSt. John's Wort

St John’s wort and hot flushes in women with breast cancer history

There are few effective treatments for hot flushes in post-menopausal breast cancer survivors.

During the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina reported the results from a pilot study.

First, the details.

  • 9 women at least 2 years after active treatment for non-metastatic breast cancer, and with a minimum of 3 hot flushes per day or 21 per week participated.
  • Women were ineligible if they were being treated for hot flushes (eg, estrogen, antidepressants).
  • Participants took 3, 300 mg St. John’s wort capsules daily for 4 weeks.
  • Participants completed hot flush diaries during active treatment (weeks 1-4), and for 2 weeks post-treatment (weeks 5-6) to assess hot flush frequency and severity.
  • In addition, women completed quality of life assessments.

And, the results.

  • St. John’s Wort was not effective in reducing the frequency or severity of hot flushes.
  • Quality of life was not improved.
  • No adverse events were reported.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “St. John’s Wort was not effective.”

Others also reported a lack of effect.

6/6/11 20:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

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