A new Canadian-led trial finds a safer and equally effective alternative therapy for controlling hot flushes and night sweats. The study suggested that a old treatment derived from progesterone may be as effective as estrogen for quelling hot flushes.
Medroxyprogesterone, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, was first made about 40 years ago, when progesterone itself was not available in an oral form - said Dr.Jerilynn Prior, professor of endocrinology and medicine at the University of B.C. and Vancouver Hospital.
Previous studies released in 2002 indicated that HRT with estrogen and progestin increased women's risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, compared to those taking a placebo. But, unlike estrogen, this old hormone therapy does not cause blood clots, breast cancer or increase the likelihood of migraine headaches.
In a one-year, double-blind, randomized trial, Prior and her international colleagues directly compared medroxyprogesterone to the standard estrogen treatment for controlling hot Flushes and night sweats.
Around 41 women participated in the study, who were in their late 30s to early 50s, and were menstruating before menopause induced by removal of ovaries and uterus — a group that typically experiences the worst hot Flushes.
Both therapies reduced hot Flushes and sweats, the team said in the January issue of the journal Clinical Science.
However, about 20 per cent of women experienced severe symptoms in menopause as estrogen levels change. But, Medroxyprogesterone did not cause blood clots, breast cancer or increase migraine headaches, making it safer than estrogen.
Now, the researchers are doing a similar trial comparing the drug to the natural form of progesterone, to see how the hormones lead to changes in weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.