Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Breast Cancer Survivors Finally Have Weapon Against Menopause

WebMD Health News

Oct. 4, 2001 -- Fifteen years ago, June Adler, then 44, underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and lumpectomy in her battle against breast cancer. She was prepared for the side effects of treatment, but not for the hot flashes and other symptoms she experienced as a result of early menopause caused by her treatment.

"The hot flashes certainly weren't the worst thing I had to deal with at the time, but they were annoying," the Chicago resident tells WebMD. "I guess at their worst I had four or five a day. I tried one old-time remedy that was being taken at the time, but nothing helped."

The most popular treatment for symptoms of menopause, hormone replacement therapy, was not a good option because it is not recommended for women who have had breast cancer due to the fear that it might cause the cancer to come back.

So when Adler was treated there were few, if any, safe and effective therapies available to relieve the symptoms of menopause in women with a history of breast cancer. And even today many highly publicized remedies like soy and vitamin E have proven disappointing in clinical studies.

But researchers may have finally found an effective and safe option for treating hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in women who have had breast cancer. Studies from Rochester, Minnesota's Mayo Clinic showed that breast cancer survivors treated with the antidepressant Effexor had a 60% reduction in hot flashes. The widely prescribed antidepressants Prozac and Paxil also appear to be effective, researcher Charles L. Loprinzi, MD, tells WebMD.

"To date, these new antidepressants are the best of the non-hormonal treatments we have looked at for hot flashes," Loprinzi says. "These findings have implications for breast cancer survivors and for other survivors of [hormone-dependent] cancers, such as men who have been treated for prostate cancer."

Loprinzi was scheduled to present an update on menopause treatment options in women with a history of breast cancer on Oct. 6 at the 12th Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society in New Orleans.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow