According to an article published in the Annals of Oncology, the antidepressive agent Effexor® (venlafaxine) is more effective than Catapres® (clonidine) for the treatment of hot flashes in women with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is diagnosed in approximately 200,000 women annually in the United States. Hot flashes, which can be a prominent problem in women with a history of breast cancer, may be caused by treatment for their disease. Given concerns regarding use of hormonal therapies in such patients, there is a need for non-hormonal methods for treating hot flashes. Such approaches include the drugs Paxil® (paroxeine hci), Prozac® (fluoxetine), and Zoloft® (sertraline). These drugs are primarily used to treat depression.
Researchers from Germany recently conducted a clinical trial to compare Effexor and Catapres in 64 women with breast cancer. The participants, who suffered from hot flashes at least twice daily, received either Effexor or Catapres in an attempt to reduce hot flashes.
Hot flashes were reduced by nearly eight episodes per day in patients treated with Effexor and by nearly five episodes per day in patients treated with Catapres.
The researchers concluded that the antidepressive agent Effexor significantly reduces the frequency of hot flahes compared with Catapres among patients with breast cancer who suffer from at least two hot-flash episodes daily. However, the search continues for the optimal treatment of women who experience hot flashes as a side effect of breast cancer treatment. There now appear to be a growing number of drugs that are reasonably effective at reducing hot flashes among these patients.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer who are suffering from hot flashes may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with antidepressive agents.
Reference: Loibl S, Schwedler K, von Minckwitz G, et al. Venlafaxine is superior to clonidine as treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients-a double-blind, randomized study. Annals of Oncoloogy. 2007;18:689-693.
Related News:Neurontin® May Reduce Frequency of Hot Flashes (1/12/2007)
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