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    Antiseizure Drug May Treat Hot Flashes

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    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

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