Thursday, January 28, 2010
A recent study found that a drug to treat nerve pain after injuries decreases hot flash and night sweat severity and frequency about 20 percent more than a placebo. The drug is called pregabalin.
Hot flashes are a major problem in many women, and for those who opt not to take hormonal therapies or antidepressants, it seems that pregabalin might be another treatment option .
Researchers say, that there can be side effects , however they were not severe enough to have caused participants to stop using the drug during the study.
Dr. Loprinzi the head researcher has pioneered the field of nonhormonal hot flash therapy, which he began researching decades ago to help breast cancer patients using tamoxifen, an anti-estrogen treatment that creates symptoms of menopause. He is the first researcher to test the use of antidepressants, compared to placebo treatment, for hot flashes.
Gabapentin, an agent that has long been on the market to treat pain caused from injury to nerves, has been shown to decrease hot flashes more than do placebos. This drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy and for shingles; anecdotal evidence suggested that menopausal women who used it had a reduction in hot flashes, Dr. Loprinzi says. Multiple placebo-controlled studies have since demonstrated that this drug decreases hot flashes.
Gabapentin and a variety of antidepressants are now commonly prescribed for treatment of hot flashes, although these agents are not specifically approved by the FDA for such use.
The study conducted by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) consisted of 207-participants . Patients getting pregabalin started off with lower doses which were increased weekly to the eventual full dose.
Participants, who reported having at least 28 hot flashes a week, kept a "hot flash diary" in which they recorded the number and severity of hot flashes they had each day while taking their study drug — the content of which was unknown to them.
They found that, after six weeks of treatment, women using a placebo agent reported about a 50 percent decrease in their hot flash score (severity), but the change was greater for those who used a 75-milligram twice daily dose of pregabalin (65 percent decrease) and a 150-milligram twice daily dose (71 percent decrease). The declines in hot flash frequency were 36 percent for placebo users, 58 percent in women who used lower-dose pregabalin, and 61 percent in women given the higher dose.
So great news... it seems that in addition to hormones, antidepressants and Cool-jams Wicking Sleepwear, there is now another new treatment to help with night sweats and hot flashes.