A popular antidepressant helped reduce the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women, a drug company-funded study said on Tuesday, though an independent researcher said the drug's effectiveness was limited. Alternative treatments to hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and memory and sleep problems will be looked at more closely because of studies showing long-term hormone therapy increases women's risks of cancer, strokes and dementia.
The drug paroxetine, sold under the brand name Paxil by GlaxoSmithKline Plc, halved the number of hot flashes suffered by women in the study.Women who took an inert placebo also had fewer hot flashes, though the improvement was not as great as
with the drug, which cut hot flashes to a median of 3.8 per day from 7.1 per day in women taking a relatively low daily dosage of 12.5 milligrams of Paxil.
Paxil and other antidepressants known collectively as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to help relieve hot flashes in earlier studies.