Prozac Shows Promise for Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Survivors

Dec. 14, 1999 (San Antonio) — Many women who overcome breast cancer may still have to deal with a few of the side impacts of the treatment. Presently, analysts at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium say Prozac may offer assistance beat one particularly uncomfortable effect — hot flashes.

Oftentimes, strategies used to treat breast cancer lower the amount of estrogen in a woman’s framework, and depending on the patient’s age, force the body into early menopause, thus the hot flashes.

One arrangement is hormone treatment, in other words replacing the estrogen that was formerly denied. But there is a hazard with such therapy — of helping a repeat of the breast cancer. Preparatory comes about from an progressing clinical ponder show that treatment with the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) can substantially diminish the rate of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors who do not want to use hormone treatment.

More than of half the patients involved within the think about say they have experienced at least a 50% diminish in hot flashes amid 4 weeks of treatment with Prozac. When compared to fake treatment, there were no differences in harmful side impacts, Charles Loprinzi, MD, tells WebMD. The findings, which he presented at the symposium, are reliable with other unpublished and recounted evidence proposing that newer antidepressant operators can progress hot flashes.

But, Loprinzi, an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says, “The conclusive, factually noteworthy published data to affirm [the viability] are pending.” More patients are being included to the consider to find out how well Prozac works for hot flashes and in case there will be any destructive side impacts.

The current findings are based on trials with as it were 33 patients, but they are steady with findings from other thinks about. Clonidine, a medicine used for tall blood pressure, and vitamin E both have been shown to be predominant to placebo for making strides hot flashes, and megesterol acetate, utilized in hormone substitution, has been associated with a sizeable lessening of hot flashes after 4 weeks of treatment, Loprinzi said.

The trial includes breast cancer survivors who report at least two day by day scenes of bothersome hot flashes for at slightest a month earlier to enrollment. The patients take Prozac or a fake treatment daily for 4 weeks, and then switch to the opposite treatment for another 4 weeks.

Nearly half of the first bunch of patients reported 4-9 hot flash scenes at enrollment, and half reported 10 or more episodes daily. Two-thirds of the patients were matured 50 or more seasoned. Amid 4 weeks of treatment with Prozac, 53% of the ladies had hot flashes that were essentially lower in intensity. That compared with 19% of patients taking fake treatment.

Upon completion of the two four-week fragments of the trial, patients rated their fulfillment with the two treatments. Loprinzi said twice as numerous patients chose the Prozac over the placebo. And, no contrasts in side impacts were famous between the two alternatives.

Similar to Prozac, examination of the more up to date antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) has appeared a decrease in hot flashes by half among ladies who took it.

At the symposium, Loprinzi advertised what produced to a see of a trial being conducted by the National Comprehensive Cancer Treatment Gather utilizing Effexor, where preliminary discoveries aren’t expected until spring. Still, Loprinzi says early findings show higher measurements of Effexor were essentially more successful than placebo at constraining the amounts of hot flashes, regularly by half.

Loprinzi moreover pointed out that a report at the 1998 San Antonio meeting too showed favorable comes about with the upper Paxil (paroxetine), which is comparative to Prozac, for alleviation of hot flashes in breast cancer patients. Favorable results have been detailed for other unused generation antidepressants, including Zoloft (sertraline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion).

During a question-and-answer session at the San Antonio symposium, an unidentified physician in the group of onlookers said Paxil is associated with some hazard of diminished libido, a side effect common to most drugs in its course of antidepressants. Agents of breast cancer persistent advocacy groups also expressed concern around the use of “powerful, potentially psychotropic (mind-altering) specialists to treat hot flashes” when other choices are available to breast cancer survivors, including natural treatments such as vitamin E and physical activity.

In response to the concerns, Loprinzi said, “These patients wanted to take an interest in this think about since they had tried other therapies that hadn’t worked. The hot flashes had become extremely bothersome to them, and they were willing to try something diverse. The patients were fully educated around the use of Prozac.”

Among natural approaches to relieve hot flashes, soy as of now generates the foremost enthusiasm, Loprinzi says.

Vital Data: The antidepressant Prozac may be an successful treatment for breast cancer patients who are experiencing hot flashes. As of now larger trials are underway to better characterize its viability, as well as trials to investigate the effectiveness of other antidepressants in decreasing hot flashes. A few specialists question the use of these medications to treat hot flashes, when other potential medicines are accessible, including vitamin E and physical movement.

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