A Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT
An anti-seizure drug may now have another use: as a non-hormonal alternative to hormone replacement therapy, researchers have found.
A study conducted at the University of Virginia analyzed the effect of the drug, gabapentin, on 600 postmenopausal women who had moderate to severe hot flashes. Researchers found that those who used extended-relief gabapentin significantly reduced their hot flashes when compared with subjects who were given a placebo.
Although many women suffer from hot flashes, some have hesitated to take HRT because of the slightly increased risk of breast cancer that’s associated with it. Lead author Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said the gabapentin discovery would give women a safe, non-hormonal treatment that manages hot flashes.
“Right now the only FDA-approved treatment we have for women’s bothersome menopausal hot flashes is estrogen therapy,” Pinkerton said. “Women need non-hormonal alternatives. They need choice.”
Pinkerton has received consulting fees from Depomed, the manufacturer of gabapentin.
In another study, also led by Pinkerton, the antidepressant desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) was also found to be effective in reducing hot flashes among women who had 50 or more incidents per week. The women took 100 mg daily for tweBolve weeks and found that it rapidly reduced symptoms.
The gabapentin findings were presented at the annual convention of the North American Menopause Society.