Escitalopram Successfully Reduces Hot Flashes

February 2, 2011

Menopausal women treated with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram have fewer, and less severe, hot flashes than women taking a placebo, according to a study published in the Jan. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Menopausal women treated with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor escitalopram have fewer, and less severe, hot flashes than women taking a placebo, according to a study published in the Jan. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ellen W. Freeman, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues enrolled 205 healthy menopausal women in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, eight-week trial to test the efficacy of escitalopram as a nonhormonal treatment for hot flashes. Women were randomized to receive 10 to 20 mg per day of escitalopram or a matching placebo and to record the frequency and severity of hot flashes in daily diaries.

The investigators found that women treated with escitalopram had significantly fewer hot flashes per day, and that they were significantly less severe, compared with women taking a placebo. At the eight-week follow-up, 55 percent of women taking escitalopram had a 50 percent or greater reduction in hot flashes, compared with 36 percent of women in the placebo group. Three weeks after the end of treatment, women in the escitalopram group reported an increase in the number of hot flashes compared with women in the placebo group.

"Our findings suggest that among healthy women, 10 to 20 mg/day of escitalopram provides a nonhormonal, off-label option that is effective and well-tolerated in the management of menopausal hot flashes," the authors write.

Escitalopram and placebo provided by Forest Research Institute. Several of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, including Forest Laboratories, Inc.

AbstractFull Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Content