Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Saturday at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

2014 NATIONAL EVENT

Health & Wellness
AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning Centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Health Discovery

Hot Flash Relief From Antidepressants

Medications could be an alternative for hormone replacement therapy during menopause

Estrogen remains the "gold standard" for treating hot flashes in women without a uterus, while an estrogen-progesterone combination is often prescribed for women with an intact uterus, Pinkerton says. But doctors try to avoid prescribing hormones to women with a prior history of breast cancer. Large studies have found estrogen-progestin use increases chances of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots.

Doctors believe the antidepressants can reset the mechanism in the brain that regulates body temperature.

In 1998, Charles Loprinzi, M.D., a medical oncologist at the Mayo Clinic looking for a safe alternative for his breast cancer patients, conducted a pilot study of a chemical cousin of Pristiq called venlafaxine (Effexor) and found it could reduce hot flashes. Studies have since shown that other antidepressants, such as paroxetine (Paxil) and citalopram (Celexa), have a similar effect, he says.

Pinkerton's study is in line with this research, Loprinzi says. "The results as I see them are similar to what has been seen with venlafaxine," he says.

It isn't the drugs' antidepressant activity that is suppressing the hot flashes, Loprinzi says. Many women see their symptoms decrease within a few days, long before the antidepressant effect is usually felt.

Doctors believe the antidepressants can reset the mechanism in the brain that regulates body temperature.

Pinkerton meanwhile predicts that as more boomers enter menopause "a substantial number of women" will want to discuss the possibility of using low-dose antidepressants to treat hot flashes.

You may also like: Don't have a hysterectomy for fibroids. >>

Michael Haederle is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in People, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Woman trying on glasses in optometrists shop

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at JCPenney Optical.

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

AngiesList

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.