A single injection of the hormone medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is more effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes than is treatment with the antidepressant pill venlafaxine (Effexor), researchers report.
Hormones like MPA and recently marketed antidepressants have been shown to reduce hot flashes, but until now, no comparisons between the two treatments had been made.
In a new report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a team led by Dr. Charles Loprinzi, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, compared a single injection of MPA with a 6-week regimen of venlafaxine.
The trial involved 227 women experiencing disturbing hot flashes, who recorded the frequency and severity of hot flashes before and during treatment. Ultimately, 94 women in each arm of the study were eligible for general analysis.
Hot flashes were reduced by 55 percent in the venlafaxine group, versus 79 percent in the MPA group, the team reports. A reduction in hot flashes by more than 50 percent was experienced by 46 percent of venlafaxine patients versus 74 percent of MPA patients.
Women in the MPA arm also reported less nausea, less appetite loss, and less dizziness.
Nonetheless, Loprinzi noted that the risks of MPA treatment regarding breast cancer are still unknown. “Some trials suggest progesterone alone is good for breast cancer, others suggest that it’s bad,” he told Reuters Health.
“But most people agree that short-term use of hormones is pretty reasonable for a person with troubling hot flashes - and a single dose of MPA, I think we can call that short term,” Loprinzi added.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, March 20, 2006.
Revision date: July 8, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.