Australian supplements company Novogen has defended its two isoflavone products for menopause symptoms following reports in the medical press that they 'had no significant effect on hot flashes.'
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange the company asserted that a study published in the latest edition of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is based on 'results which are at odds with other similar scientifically conducted studies.'
Novogen research director Professor Alan Husband said the results published in JAMA were 'out of step with 14 other studies which had demonstrated a conclusive benefit when compared with placebo.'
"The Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) study was confounded by an unexplained 36 per cent placebo effect compared with 15 to 20 per cent experienced by most other scientifically conducted studies evaluating isoflavones for the management of hot flashes in menopause," added Professor Husband.
But he stressed that there was clearly a need to examine the reasons for a higher than usual placebo effect in this study 'which confounded the findings in the treated group.'
The study published in JAMA compared the effects of placebo with the products Promensil (82mg of total isoflavones per day) and Rimostil (57mg of total isoflavones per day) in a group of 250 menopausal women, who were experiencing at least 35 hot flashes each week.
Novogen's dietary supplement Promensil is derived from red clover (Trifolium pratense), a source of dietary isoflavones. Rimostil is targeted at the maintenance of bone and cholesterol health in post-menopausal women.
In May this year the US granted the Australian pharmaceutical company a patent for use of its isoflavone technology in the treatment of the symptoms of menopause and pre-menstrual syndrome.
Novogen has also licensed part of its technology to the newly established DuPont venture Solae, for which it is receiving royalty payments.
Around 1403 GMT on Thursday 10 July, shares in Novogen were down 3.86 per cent, at A$4.98.