Who turned up the heat?! First non-hormonal treatment approved for hot flashes

thermometer and sunContributed by Maria Wright, MD, NCMP

For many menopausal women, summertime lasts throughout the entire year. The leaves may be changing or the snow may be falling, but your body still feels hot as July. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then you may be one of the 75 percent of women age 45-55 who suffer from hot flashes.

Brisdelle for hot flashes

While many women can safely and effectively take estrogen to help relieve hot flashes, there’s a significant population of women who can’t—women who are taking tamoxifen, or have a current or past history of breast cancer or blood clots—or women who simply choose not to take hormones. For them, Brisdelle may be an option. Approved last week by the FDA, Brisdelle’s active ingredient is paroxetine, the same active ingredient in the antidepressant Paxil. Please note the dosage of paroxetine used in Brisdelle is lower than the dosage in Paxil. For this reason, it’s not effective/shouldn’t be used for the relief of depression symptoms. If you’re curious as to whether Brisdelle may be right for you, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist or primary care physician to discuss the risks and benefits associated with this drug.

Other options for managing hot flashes

Short of medication therapy, there are some practical things you can do to help prevent and decrease the severity of hot flashes. These include:

  • Avoid hot flash triggers: This typically includes things like alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and stress to name just a few.
  • Keep your core body temperature as cool as possible. This includes things like dressing in layers, sleeping on cotton sheets, keeping a fan/water bottle with you during the day.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
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