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ABSTRACT: Conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) treatment, a hormone replacement therapy, is restricted for use in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women because of security issues. Consequently, traditional Chinese herbal medicine has become an alternative choice for the patients with contraindications to hormone replacement therapy. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of Kuntai Capsule and CEE in treating cognitive function disorder and mental symptoms of early postmenopausal women. A total of 57 cases of early postmenopausal women from Outpatient Department of West China Women and Children's Hospital were included. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups: Kuntai group with 28 cases and CEE group with 29 cases. The patients in Kuntai group received 6 g Kuntai capsules three times a day. The patients in CEE group received CEE 0.3 mg and 0.6 mg alternately once a day (average dose of 0.45 mg/d). The patients with intact uterus in CEE group were treated with 2 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate daily. In one-year treatment course, the recognition function and mental symptoms of each patient were investigated by questionnaires of Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Kupperman, and quality of life (QOL) every three months. Both intention-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol set (PPS) analyses were done. The MMSE, Kupperman index and QOL scores at each time point were improved as compared with those before treatment (P<0.05), however there were no statistical differences between the two groups (P>0.05). The MMSE scores showed a tendency to escalate while mental symptoms investigated by Kupperman index and QOL scale showed a downtrend. No severe adverse effects occurred in the study phase and no statistical difference in incidence of side effects between the two groups was found except for vaginal bleeding. The incidence rates of vaginal bleeding in CEE and Kuntai groups were 39.3% and 11.1% respectively (P=0.029). Both Kuntai Capsule and CEE may contribute to maintain the cognitive function and ameliorate mental symptoms of early postmenopausal women.Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine 04/2010; 8(4):321-7.