Mayo Clinic researchers report on effectiveness of treatments for hot flashes

; Sunday, May 15, 2005, 8 a.m. EDT

NCCTG Study Compares Venlafaxine and Progestational Agents in Reducing Hot Flashes

Mayo Clinic researchers will outline current data comparing the effectiveness of two medicines -- venlafaxine and a progestational agent -- in combating hot flashes.

Previous studies have shown that both venlafaxine and progestational agents substantially decrease hot flashes. This NCCTG trial demonstrated that a single dose of the progestational agent, medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), alleviated hot flashes more than did the daily use of the oral antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor). Three to four weeks after treatment began, researchers observed that MPA was more effective than venlafaxine. This difference became even more striking after six weeks of treatment, says Mayo medical oncologist Charles Loprinzi, M.D., the NCCTG study's lead investigator.

"This improved hot flash benefit appeared to last for at least six months following a single MPA dose, with almost three times as many patients still reporting a 90 percent hot flash reduction following MPA versus patients receiving daily oral venlafaxine," says Dr. Loprinzi.

The findings reviewed in this presentation include data from 185 patients. Six weeks after treatment was started (compared to the baseline week), patients who received the single shot of MPA, versus those on venlafaxine, had greater reductions in median hot flash frequencies (85 percent vs. 52 percent reduction) and reductions in median hot flash scores (88 percent vs. 57 percent reduction).

Mayo researchers also noted that 24 percent of patients who received MPA reported no hot flashes after six weeks compared to 1 percent of venlafaxine patients. Patients on MPA also reported less trouble sleeping, less sleepiness, less constipation, less abnormal sweating and less hot flash distress than patients on venlafaxine.

The patients on venlafaxine had trends for less trou


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