Escitalopram reduces hot flashes in nondepressed menopausal women: A pilot study

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BACKGROUNDHot flashes are one of the most troubling manifestations of menopause, affecting about 80% of women. Due to recent controversies about hormone replacement therapy, many women seek alternative treatments. The use of antidepressants to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms has been an active area of investigation. However, the majority of past research in this area has included women with significant medical or psychiatric histories that may influence treatment response. This was the first study to examine the impact of escitalopram on hot flashes, mood, sleep, and quality of life in a sample of healthy nondepressed menopausal women.METHODSThis study enrolled 25 menopausal women who had no significant psychiatric or medical history. All women were treated with escitalopram (10 to 20 mg flexibly dosed) for 8 weeks. The active treatment phase was preceded by a single-blind placebo lead-in period.RESULTSOver the course of the study, women reported significant decreases in both hot flash frequency and severity as well as improvements in dysphoria, anxiety, quality of life, and sleep.CONCLUSIONSThese preliminary findings suggest that escitalopram may be a feasible and effective option for treating hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in healthy women who might not ordinarily consider antidepressant treatment.

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