â€śOur findings suggest that among healthy women who were not depressed or anxious, a 10 to 20 milligram dose of escitalopram â€“ which is well below the dosage level for psychiatric use â€“ provides a nonhormonal, off-label option that is effective and well-tolerated in the management of menopausal hot flashes,â€ť 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 â€“ 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 drugâ€™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 â€śmeaningful,â€ť greatly improving their quality of life and reinforcing their desire to continue the treatment.
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