Antidepressant Useful For Hot Flashes

The antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor) appears to be effective in treating postmenopausal hot flashes in otherwise healthy women, according to a report in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Previous studies have confirmed the value of venlafaxine in treating hot flashes in women with breast cancer and those reluctant to use estrogen because of breast cancer fears, the authors explain. In this study, Dr. Robert B. Jaffe and colleagues from University of California, San Francisco, investigated whether extended-release venlafaxine would reduce hot flashes in a general population of postmenopausal women. Eighty women were randomly treated with either venlafaxine or inactive "placebo." Women in the venlafaxine group reported higher hot flash scores when the study began, the researchers note, but their scores declined to the level of the control group at one-month follow-up. By the time the 12-week study was completed, the authors report, women in the venlafaxine group had substantially lower hot flash scores than did women in the placebo group. When they occurred, the hot flashes were not, on average, significantly less severe in the venlafaxine group, the results indicate.

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