Drug offers relief to women suffering symptoms of menopause - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Drug offers relief to women suffering symptoms of menopause

(NBC) - Nearly 75 percent of women will experience the symptoms of menopause, and for many it comes in forms of hot flashes.

These spikes of severe heat can happen multiple times a day and night, yet treatments aren't as numerous.

Barbara Urian, like millions of menopausal women, was looking for a way to bear the heat.

"At one point I was waking 12 times a night, tearing covers off, being very uncomfortable," Urian said.

Herbal remedies didn't help her hot flashes, and she chose to avoid hormone replacement therapy after reading reports of potentially severe side effects.

Urian was one of nearly 200 women who participated in a clinical trial testing of the antidepressant escitalopram, sold under the brand name, Lexapro, for hot flashes.

After reviewing participants' daily diaries, the difference was clear.

"This appears to be an option for generally healthy women who are distressed about their menopausal hot flashes," said Dr. Ellen Freeman with the university of Pennsylvania school of Medicine.

This isn't an FDA-approved use of the drug, and doctors warn there could be side effects like fatigue and nausea, but experts say having new options to treat menopausal hot flashes is a very cool thing.

One out of three women in the placebo group experienced a significant reduction in hot flashes, leading experts to believe state of mind also plays a role in symptoms.

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