Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Use of antidepressant to treat hot flashes raises concern

From the Montreal Gazette:
First came the fallout from hormones. Now alarms are being raised about a new treatment for menopause: mood-altering drugs.

With enthusiasm for hormones cooling, doctors are increasingly experimenting with antidepressants for hot flashes.

In the latest study published this week, researchers report that women given escitalopram, or Cipralex, a drug used for major depressive disorders, had fewer hot flashes after eight weeks of treatment.

Overall, 55 per cent of the women in the drug group versus 36 per cent taking a placebo reported a decrease of at least 50 per cent in "hot flash frequency," according to the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although the drug is only approved for anxiety and major depressive disorders, women who were not "clinically anxious or depressed" responded to the drug, the researchers said. Furthermore, "response was rapid, with significantly greater improvement among women taking escitalopram than placebo after one week of treatment." ...more

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