Entries in hot flashes (6)


FDA Approves New Drug for Hot Flashes

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- The Food and Drug Administration approved a new and somewhat controversial drug to treat moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause on Friday.

There are several drugs that treat hot flashes, which up to 75 percent of women experience, but Brisdelle is the first one that is non-hormonal. It contains a low dose of paroxetine, which is used in higher doses in the antidepressant drug Paxil.

Many are surprised that the FDA approved the drug after an expert advisory panel voted ten to four against it, saying it risks outweighed its benefits. But the FDA says many women are now opposed to hormonal treatments since being linked to increased risk of breast cancer.

“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, director of the Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “[Friday’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.”

According to the FDA, the most common side effects of Brisdelle are headache, fatigue, and nausea and vomiting.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study: Therapy Eases Hot Flashes After Breast Cancer Treatment

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Up to 85 percent of women treated for breast cancer experience hot flashes and night sweats, the often debilitating symptoms of menopause brought on by hormone-disrupting cancer treatments.

Certain drugs can provide some relief, but they don't work for everyone.

"Hormone therapy generally isn't recommended for these women because of its association with breast cancer," said Myra Hunter, a professor of clinical health psychology at King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry.  "And many women want to take a non-medical approach."

Hunter and colleagues investigated whether group cognitive-behavioral therapy, a psychotherapy aimed at tackling perceptions rather than physical symptoms, could help breast cancer survivors cope with hot flashes and night sweats by changing the way they think about them.

"There is some evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapy can help well women [who do not have breast cancer] cope with hot flashes and night sweats related to menopause," said Hunter.  "If we can help them to counter their negative thoughts, they can learn to really let the flash flow over them."

In a study of 96 breast cancer survivors, women who received six 90-minute cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions reported significantly fewer problems with hot flashes and night sweats than women who received the usual care.  The findings were published Tuesday in the Lancet Oncology.

"They're still having hot flashes, but they don't notice them as much," said Hunter.

Using relaxation techniques such as "paced breathing," the women learned to counteract the stress and embarrassment of hot flashes and their effects on mood and sleep.

Holly Prigerson, director of psychosocial oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said the study "demonstrates the power of the mind as medicine."

"By encouraging someone to think about physical symptoms in a different way -- a way that's less stigmatizing and more normalizing -- you can substantially improve her quality of life," said Prigerson, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.  "Just like anxiolytics or antidepressants, how you think about something can have a dramatic influence on how you feel physically and mentally."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Study Finds Acupuncture May Curb Severity of Hot Flashes

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANKARA, Turkey) -- Many women are willing to try anything to get rid of the dreaded hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause.

A new study out Monday offers an alternative to the herbal remedies and hormone replacement therapy so many turn to: traditional Chinese acupuncture.

The study, conducted by the Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, concluded that acupuncture, which treats patients by inserting and manipulating needles in the body, curbs the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, largely related to mood.

The authors based their findings on the experience of 53 post-menopausal women. The participants measured their symptoms using a five-point scale before and after treatment.

Twenty-seven of the women received traditional Chinese acupuncture for 20 minutes, twice a week for 10 weeks. The rest thought they were given acupuncture treatment, but the needles didn't actually penetrate the skin.

The women who received real acupuncture showed significant drops in the severity of their hot flashes -- and that's not just true of the women in this study.

Jacqui Danilow said she turned to acupuncture to ease her hot flashes that would come on with no warning.

"Suddenly, you are very warm and you think the thermostat has gone up inside your body and you never know why it happens or what causes it," she said.

Weekly acupuncture treatments "were like a miracle," Danilow said. She rated the severity of her hot flashes at a "10" before her treatment -- after four months, they were a "3."

Dr. Arya Nielsen from the Beth Israel Medical Center Department of Integrative Medicine said acupuncture, which she has been performing for 35 years, is effective for women who are having menopausal symptoms -- and can help provide relief.

Researchers suggest the reason why acupuncture may work for women suffering from hot flashes is that the treatment is able to boost the production of endorphins and that could help stabilize body temperature.

Authors of this study caution that their sample size was very small, and they did not follow up with patients after treatment, so they do not know if the positive effects of acupuncture continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Probes Links Between Hot Flashes, Heart Attacks

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- A new study suggests that women who experience that crimson blush of a hot flash early on in their menopause experience seemed to have a lower risk of heart attack.

"The timing of hot flashes may make a big difference in terms of what they signify in terms of heart health," said Dr. Ellen Seely, of Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital, the senior author of the study.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, and the risk increases dramatically after menopause. The study found a woman's risk of heart attack rises depending on when hot flashes begin in menopause.

The study analyzed data from more than 60,000 women over an average of almost 10 years. Women were asked to recall their symptoms -- like hot flashes and night sweats -- in questionnaires about their health. The women were in their early 60s on average, about 14 years after the start of menopause.

Dr. Sharonne Hayes, from the Mayo Clinic's department of cardiovascular diseases, said the results of the study add to the growing understanding of the complicated relationship between symptoms of menopause and heart attacks later in life.

"What it does tell us is that the interplay between hot flashes and night sweats and future cardiovascular risk and menopause is much more complex than we thought it was before," she said, but cautioned more research is needed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Study: Hot Flashes, Menopause Symptoms Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Hot flashes and other common symptoms associated with menopause could reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer by up to 50 percent, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that the more symptoms a woman experienced and the more severe they were, the better protection she was offered against the disease.

“In particular we found that women who experienced more intense hot flashes -- the kind that woke them up at night – had a particularly low risk of breast cancer,” senior author Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., a breast cancer epidemiologist in the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, said.

For the study, 1,437 postmenopausal women -- 988 of whom had been diagnosed with cancer -- were surveyed on a series of different menopausal symptoms.  Out of the women who experienced hot flashes and other symptoms, researchers found a 40 to 60 percent decrease in the risk of developing two of the most common types of breast cancer.

Researchers believe reductions in estrogen, progesterone and other hormones during menopause could responsible for the reduced risk.

The study will be printed in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


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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