New Study from Penn Medicine: Antidepressant Use Reduced Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women

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Media Contact:Olivia Fermano | olivia.fermano@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5653 January 19, 2011

“Our findings suggest that among healthy women who were not depressed or anxious, a 10 to 20 milligram dose of escitalopram – which is well below the dosage level for psychiatric use – provides a nonhormonal, off-label option that is effective and well-tolerated in the management of menopausal hot flashes,” said Ellen W. Freeman, PhD, Penn research professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and principal investigator of the national, multi-site study.

At the end of the study after eight weeks, participants showed a significant decrease in hot flash frequency and intensity in the escitalopram group compared to the placebo group – 55 percent vs. 36 percent. The three-week study participant follow-up also showed that hot flashes increased after cessation of escitalopram but not after cessation of placebo, further proving the drug’s effectiveness. Dr. Freeman and her colleagues note that while the reduction in hot flash frequency and severity seem modest, the study participants perceived these improvements as “meaningful,” greatly improving their quality of life and reinforcing their desire to continue the treatment.

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