Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antidepressant Found To Reduce Hot Flashes

Date:
June 4, 2003
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Researchers at Johns Hopkins and 17 other institutions found that a slow-release form of the antidepression, antianxiety medication, sold under the brand name Paxil, reduced hot flashes in a group of menopausal women by up to 65 percent, or 3.3 flashes per day.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins and 17 other institutions found that a slow-release form of the antidepression, antianxiety medication, sold under the brand name Paxil, reduced hot flashes in a group of menopausal women by up to 65 percent, or 3.3 flashes per day. Their work is published in the June 4 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Hot flashes traditionally have been treated with estrogen and progestin hormone supplements, which can reduce their frequency by 80 percent to 90 percent. But results of the Women's Health Initiative study -- blaming the hormones for increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer -- have sent women and their physicians searching for alternatives.

Paroxetine is "the best nonhormonal drug we know about right now," says lead author Vered Stearns, M.D., an assistant professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins' Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. "If a woman wants to try nonhormonal therapy, she will know within days whether it's going to work."

Stearns was at the University of Michigan when the study was completed. In earlier studies, Stearns investigated the quick-release form of paroxetine primarily in breast cancer survivors and showed a similar reduction in hot flashes.

The physiology behind hot flashes isn't fully known, Stearns says, though scientists think they occur as falling estrogen levels throw off the central nervous system's temperature control mechanism. The possibility of using paroxetine for hot flashes emerged from the observation that women with a history of breast cancer taking certain antidepressants had fewer hot flashes. The medications that worked inhibited the brain's reuptake of serotonin, a natural chemical that modulates mood, emotion, sleep and appetite.

Between October 2001 and March 2002, Stearns and colleagues studied 165 menopausal women experiencing at least two to three hot flashes a day. Eighty percent had experienced hot flashes for at least a year, and 93 percent had no history of breast cancer. Participants filled out a questionnaire about the severity of symptoms, then were randomly assigned to take paroxetine at 12.5 or 25 milligrams, or a placebo, every day for six weeks.

The subjects answered additional questions about their symptoms three weeks and six weeks later, and had vital signs measured. The women also kept daily hot flash diaries, recording the frequency and severity of their hot flashes during the study period.

Among the 138 women who completed the study, the 25 mg paroxetine pills reduced hot flashes by 64.6 percent or 3.2 flashes per day. The 12.5 mg pills reduced symptoms by 62.2 percent or 3.3 flashes per day, while the placebo reduced them by only 37.8 percent or 1.8 flashes per day. The 25 mg pills showed significant improvements for many of the women within one week of treatment. The most frequently reported side effects were mild to moderate headache, nausea and insomnia.

Sixty percent of women taking paroxetine had a 50 percent or greater reduction in hot flashes, from 6.5 hot flashes per day to 3.2 hot flashes per day. In addition, up to 30 percent of women using it had no flashes by the sixth week of the study.

Stearns cautions that the drug remains experimental. The optimal dose and whether it will work for minority women are still unknown.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. Stearns has served as a consultant to the company. Co-authors were Katherine L. Beebe, Ph.D.; Malini Iyengar, Ph.D.; and Eric Dube, Ph.D. of GlaxoSmithKline.– JHMI – Stearns, Vered et al, "A Double-blind Comparison of Paroxetine Controlled Release (Paxil CR) and Placebo in the Treatment of Menopausal Hot Flashes," The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 4, 2003.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Antidepressant Found To Reduce Hot Flashes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030604085605.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2003, June 4). Antidepressant Found To Reduce Hot Flashes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030604085605.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Antidepressant Found To Reduce Hot Flashes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/06/030604085605.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins