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Effexor as Good as HRT for Hot Flashes

Posted 6/29/2014

Posted in

  This has been the first day of real summer for me. Part of that is due to the glorious summer weather: blue sky and warm, but most of it is due to (finally) being at our little cottage in Maine. It was a long and tedious drive yesterday; an accident near Portsmouth left  us and many others sitting absolutely still for more than a hour. Of course, I was mostly grateful not to have been in the accident, but it did get frustrating. Finally we crossed the bridge to the island, respecting the family tradition of rolling down the windows and yelling "YAY" as we crossed. And soon we were here.

   The intense "this is summer" moment came when I came back inside after kayaking. Something about feeling hot and worked out and relaxed and my bare feet on the cool wood floors and the salt air smells did it. Have you noticed how many summer memories and feelings are sensory?

  But I digress a great deal from today's topic. This is an excellent article from about a recent study suggesting that low dose Effexor is just as effective for hot flashes as HRT. Since women who have had breast cancer are banned from HRT, this is excellent news for all those women who do not enjoy their "personal summers" (as one patient called them). Here is the start and a link to read more. If this is an issue for you, it is well worth reading:

Effexor Seems Just as Good as HRT in Easing Hot Flashes. A study has found that the antidepressant Effexor (chemical name: venlafaxine) eased hot flashes just as well as hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

There are two types of antidepressant medicines: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Effexor is an SNRI.

The research was published online on May 26, 2014 by JAMA Internal Medicine. Read the abstract of “Low-Dose Estradiol and the Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor Venlafaxine for Vasomotor Symptoms: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats can dramatically reduce quality of life for some women. Hot flashes also are a known side effect of hormonal therapy medicines used to treat breast cancer. Doctors call hot flashes and night sweats “vasomotor symptoms.”

Some women use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease these symptoms. But research has shown that HRT increases breast cancer risk in women who haven’t been diagnosed. HRT also increases the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who have been diagnosed with the disease. HRT is not recommended for women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. Undiagnosed women who have severe menopausal symptoms need to weigh the benefits of HRT against its risks.



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