Treating cyclic mastalgia with Vitex agnus castus

Treating cyclical mastalgia with Vitex agnus castus

Cyclical mastalgia (breast pain that varies during the menstrual cycle) is a relatively common condition in premenstrual women. [1] Latent hyperprolactinaemia is suggested to be a contributing factor in the conditions aetiology. Vitex agnus castus (VAC) has been researched as a potential treatment due to its dopaminergic activity. A new systematic review and meta-analysis sought to examine the treatment efficacy of VAC on cyclic mastalgia [2].

Upon examining 25 relevant studies of cyclic mastalgia sufferers aged 18 – 45, the systematic review concluded that VAC had efficacy in lowering breast pain intensity whilst also decreasing serum prolactin levels. The dosage range studied was 20 – 40mg per day, taken over a 3-month duration. [2]

The meta-analysis considered six studies, concluding there was a moderate effect size for VAC usage in cyclic mastalgia, versus placebo (SMD: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.5-0.85). Another seven trials believed pharmacological agents such as hormonal contraceptives showed more efficacy for treating cyclic mastalgia versus VAC. [2]

In summary the authors concluded that whilst more clinical trials are needed, VAC was a safe and efficacious treatment for cyclic mastalgia.

References

[1] Brennan, M., Housamii, N., & French, J. (2005). Management of Benign breast conditions. Australian Family Physician. Vol34;3, March 2015.

[2] Ooi, S., Watts, S., McClean, R., & Pak, S. (2019). Vitex Agnus-Castus for the Treatment of Cyclic Mastalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Women’s Health, https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2019.7770