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Fighting Hot Flashes
A doctor in Ohio is part of the team which helped conduct recent clinical trials on the first non -hormonal medication to fight night sweats and hot flashes.
He sat down to talk exclusively with medical reporter Liz Bonis.
Doctor David Portman is a gynecologist who helped conduct recent clinical trials on a medication about to hit the market called Brisdelle.
It contains a lower dose of Paroxetine -- a medicine already used to treat other mental health concerns including depression.
Brisdelle is the first medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration that is non-hormonal to treat hot flashes and night sweats.
"They occur typically in the early part of menopause, generally around 50 or 51 give or take a few years. Women feel a sense of warmth, often accompanied by perspiration. A severe hot flash makes them stop what they are doing."
1200 women participated in two trials. Half had the actual study drug and the other a placebo or pill without it.
"Patients had close to a reduction of about five hot flashes per day from baseline and one to two different than placebo. We looked at both number and severity, so frequency was calculated by counting, and severity based on the way the woman graded her hot flashes. Mild, moderate and severe, and there were reductions in both frequency and severity."
Doctor Portman says those reductions appeared to last during the trial. In this case, up to 24 weeks.
Since the trials were conducted for a shorter length of time than a woman might be on the medications, he does suggest women start with some lifestyle interventions. He says many women can reduce both the severity and number of hot flashes, just with a couple simple ideas.
Those ideas include dressing in layers and avoiding triggers for hot flashes such as spicy food,, alcohol or hot beverages.
"If woman can avoid those types of triggers, and get those symptoms satisfactorily treated, then they can perhaps avoid a medication."
If not he says you can ask your doctor about this newer option expected to be on the market by the end of the year.
Headache, nausea, and fatigue were the most common side effects reported in the study.
Those did go away within about four weeks.
The clinical trials were funded by Noven, the company that developed the drug.
If you'd like more information on this medication-go to www.brisdelle.com