New Option Now Available for Dealing with Hot Flashes

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • Plagued with hot flashes, but concerned about resorting to hormone therapy? Well, you can rejoice because there’s a new option available to you.


    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it has approved Brisdelle for use in treating moderate to severe hot flashes that are associated with menopause. This product is the only non-hormonal treatment currently approved to treat hot flashes. It contains the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine mesylate.


    “There are a significant number of women who suffer from hot flashes associated with menopause and who cannot or do not want to use hormonal treatments,” said Hylton V. Joffe, M.D., M.M.Sc., director of the Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval provides women with the first FDA-approved, non-hormonal therapeutic option to help ease the hot flashes that are so common in menopause.”

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    This drug was tested in two randomized, double-bind, placebo-controlled studies that involved 1,175 postmenopausal women. These participants suffered from moderate to severe hot flashes approximately 7-8 times a day or 50-60 per week. Participants who received Brisdelle took it for 12 weeks in one study and 24 weeks in the second study. Both studies found that Brisdelle reduced hot flashes as compared to the placebos.  Side effects of Brisdelle included headache, fatigue and nausea/vomiting.


    Other Options to Control Hot Flashes


    There are also other drugs and treatments for hot flashes as well as lifestyle changes you can make to try to control hot flashes. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include:

    • Hormone therapy – Both estrogen and progesterone can help reduce hot flashes. If you are going to try to take either type of therapy, work with your doctor to take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time. Also, prior to starting this type of therapy, work with your doctor to review your risk of heart disease. The Mayo Clinic warns that estrogen therapy isn’t a good choice if you have had a blood clot or breast cancer. Some doctors will prescribe progesterone as an alternative to help women who can’t take estrogen control hot flashes.
    • Antidepressants – Low doses of venlafaxine, paroxetine and fluoxetine may decrease hot flashes. These medications are not as effective for severe hot flashes as hormone therapy. In addition, there may be side effects, including nausea, dizziness, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
    • Gabapentin – This anti-seizure medication has been found to be moderately affective, especially with hot flashes at night. However, you might experience drowsiness, dizziness and headaches.
    • Clonidine – This prescription medication is used to treat high blood pressure, but has been found in some instances to help with hot flashes. Side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth as well as constipation.
    • Remaining cool – Increases in the body’s core temperature often trigger hot flashes. Try methods to keep yourself cool, whether through dressing in layers, lowering the thermostat, drinking a cold beverage, using a fan or opening a window.
    • Making alterations in your diet – Caffeinated beverages, foods that are hot and spice and alcohol can serve as triggers for hot flashes. Watch what you eat and see what sparks them, and then you can avoid those foods. (I’ve found that beer tends to trigger mine whereas I don’t get hot flashes by drinking red wine.)
    • Try to reduce stress – The Mayo Clinic suggests trying stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation and relaxation therapies.
    • Quit smoking – This habit has been linked to hot flashes so quitting can help you reduce these pesky “power surges” as well as benefitting your overall health through lowering your risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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  • Mayo Clinic. (2011). Hot flashes.

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    U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2013). FDA approves the first non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes associated with menopause.

Published On: July 01, 2013