Antiseizure Drug May Treat Hot Flashes
WebMD News Archive
He describes his theory and the effect of gabapentin on a handful of
patients in the June 13 issue of the journal Neurology. Guttoso says
that the drug "reduced the frequency of hot flashes by about 87%" in
the six patients he describes in the article. A seventh patient who suffered
from hypothermia -- a condition of low body temperature -- had a 100-fold
increase in these episodes, with temperatures as low as 95? F.
He is so impressed by these early results that he says he will study the
drug by measuring blood levels of tachykinins in women taking it to see if
their levels decrease. "If the levels drop, that would support my
theory," says Guttoso.
Although most of the patients in whom he tried the drug for hot flash relief
are women, the drug also worked for a man taking hormone treatment for prostate
cancer. He experienced about 15 hot flashes a day, most of them at night, says
Guttoso. Taking gabapentin before bed "completely eliminated the nighttime
hot flashes," he says.
Currently, the most effective treatment for hot flashes is hormone therapy,
but "women with present cancers or with a family history of breast cancer
want to avoid hormones," says Margery Gass, MD, director of the menopause
and osteoporosis center at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and
associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Cincinnati
School of Medicine.
"There is a great interest in and a great need for nonhormonal
approaches to treating hot flashes," Gass tells WebMD. She says she
welcomes Guttoso's efforts and looks forward to the results of his new study,
which he says he hopes to have ready for publication in a year.
For more information from WebMD, go to our Diseases and Conditions Menopause