Antidepressants can help ease hot flushes: Study

Antidepressants can help ease hot flushes: Study

Women suffering from debilitating hot flushes during menopause may benefit from antidepressants, a new study has claimed.

Past studies have already shown that women who experience hot flushes have differences in the way their blood vessels react to hormones. Nearly a quarter of women going through the menopause suffer from hot flushes so severely that they seek medical help.

The Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the best available treatment for this condition at present, but it's also linked with a small increased risk of breast cancer.

Now, researchers at the Glasgow University found that antidepressants which affect how the body uses serotonin -- the so-called feel-good hormone -- also influence how the blood vessels contract and expand in women who suffer with hot flushes, the Daily Telegraph reported.

For their study, they looked at 134 women suffering from the severe condition. They were given either antidepressant Effexor, a blood pressure drug also known as venlafaxine, or HRT or a placebo.

HRT improved hot flushes in three quarters of women, while the symptoms were improved in 60 per cent of women who were given Effexor.

Lead researcher Prof Mary Ann Lumsden said: "The thing about flushing is that no one really knows why it happens.

"I see women all the time who have had flushes for a long time and their life is compromised. It is embarrassing, difficult and uncomfortable for them. It causes huge misery."

The new discovery, she said, could also help men with advanced prostate cancer who may suffer from hot flushes due to the hormones they are given to treat their cancer.

Liz Campbell, Director of Wellbeing of Women which funded the study, said: "We are committed to funding high quality research to improve the quality of women's lives.

"These are unpopular areas for research but it is vital that women have good treatments available so that they can make the most of their lives.

"This is a terrific project with very exciting results from a very good research team."

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