Hot flashes are a symptom of menopause that millions of women experience each year. Every generation of women are always looking for a way to get relief from these highly uncomfortable hot flashes that can happen at anytime of the day or night – and often happen several times within a twenty-four hour period – for several years. Can antidepressants stop hot flashes?
Recent Research about Hot Flashes
A government funded study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that after eight weeks of taking an antidepressant known as Lexapro, had fewer hot flashes each day. The study was conducted on a group of 200 menopausal women who were reporting an average of ten hot flashes each day. After eight weeks on the antidepressant, the instances of hot flashes were cut almost in half – to just above five hot flashes per day.
Are Antidepressants Safer than Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone Replacement Therapy, also known as HRT is currently the only type of medication that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. HRT, however, is no longer recommended for long term use because of the risks associated with this type of drug. These risks include many types of cancer – including breast cancer, heart disease, and other health related problems. Antidepressants, however, do not have these same risks associated with their usage, even if they are used over a long period of time. Menopause can last for five years or more.
Other Medications Used for Hot Flashes
Aside from antidepressants and hormone therapy, there are some other types of drugs that have had some success in curtailing hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. These include anti-seizure medications and medications used to treat hypertension. Some doctors will prescribe these medications, or antidepressants, to treat menopausal symptoms even though the medications are not labeled for that type of usage simply because these drugs are much safer than HRT.
If you are experiencing hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause, be sure to talk to your doctor about the available options. Do not think that you simply have to live with those uncomfortable symptoms or risk HRT for the next five years or so. Today, you do have some options.