Effective and clinically meaningful non-hormonal hot flash therapies

Maturitas, 04/13/2012

Guttuso T – The use of anticonvulsants, in general, has been associated with an absolute 0.21% increase in suicidal thoughts and behavior. Further research is needed with several of these nonhormonal compounds to replicate these findings and to also directly compare their efficacy and tolerability with those of hormone replacement therapy.


  • This review used evidence–based methodology closely mirroring the FDA and EMEA guidelines as a template to identify “well–designed” RCTs from which effective and clinically meaningful non–hormonal hot flash therapies could be identified.
  • In addition, pertinent safety information was reviewed.


  • Out of 3548 MEDLINE citations and abstracts, 51 well–designed hot flash RCTs were identified.
  • From these trials, gabapentin, oxybutynin ER, desvenlafaxine, soy–derived isoflavones and black cohosh each showed a clinically meaningful treatment effect in at least 1 RCT.
  • Among these 5 compounds, only gabapentin demonstrated consistent and statistically significant benefit over placebo in all of its well–designed RCTs.
  • Desvenlafaxine, soy–derived isoflavones, and black cohosh demonstrated statistically significant benefit over placebo in 75%, 21%, and 17% of the well–designed RCTs for each compound, respectively.
  • There was only 1 well–designed RCT using oxybutynin ER, which showed it to have a robust and clinically meaningful benefit. In terms of safety, there have been cardiovascular risks associated with desvenlafaxine use in postmenopausal women with hot flashes.

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