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Study: Anti-Depressants Relieve Hot Flashes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- For women passing through menopause, hot flashes can become the bane of their lives. Hormone replacement is one therapy, but it comes with significant risks. Now a new drug made for a different ailment could be of some help. 

HRT for menopausal women is hugely controversial, as it can increase a woman's chances of breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke.  Now a study in the journal of the American Medical Association examines an alternative treatment. 

Other studies have shown that some anti-depressants can alleviate hot flashes. This study focused on one of them, as 205 women with hot flashes were given either escitalopram or a placebo for eight weeks. Women taking the drug reported an average reduction of 4.6 hot flashes per day. Those on placebo had an average reduction of 3.2 hot flashes per day. That's a little over one less hot flash a day. Overall, the study found the drug reduced hot flashes by 47 percent compared to a 33 percent reduction in the placebo group.  And women taking escitalopram reported their hot flashes were less severe. 

The authors say escitalopram is a non-hormonal alternative to help women control the symptoms of menopause. 

Some of this study's authors have consulted for, and received funding from forest laboratories, which sells escitalopram under the brand name lexapro.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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