Menopause Treatments for Women
With Few Options
Most menopause medications are used for a combination of symptoms or illnesses. Women, who for a variety of reasons can’t take or benefit from standard menopause treatments, will still find relief from their symptoms through these medicines.
|Use of these menopause medications is only for women who have few (if any) other options for symptom relief.
Most women can benefit from Natural Menopause Treatments and don’t need to take any of these drugs.
Most of these medications medications are prescribed off-label. This means that the medication was actually developed for another disease, but medical professionals have found them useful to treat menopause problems as well.
Applications are mostly for hot flashes, night sweats, menopause depression and anxiety.
Numerous medications can be used to treat these menopause symptoms and all have to be prescribed by your doctor.
Women are prescribed these menopause medications for a variety of reasons:
- Some women can’t take hormones or don’t get relief from “standard” menopause treatments.
- Others have special circumstances that warrant the use of these drugs (i.e. breast or endometrial cancer, family history of cancer etc.).
Newer research into the mechanisms of hot flashes and night sweats (the most common symptoms for which women seek help) have given doctors more options for other kinds of medications that are successful in the treatment of these menopause symptoms.
The most common classes of menopause medications (other than hormone prescriptions) are:
Anti-Depressants for Hot Flashes Relief
There are numerous anti-depressants that are prescribed off -label as menopause medications for hot flashes. Effexor and Paxil are two common names that show up in this context, but several other drugs (Prozac, Lexapro etc.) are used as well.
The reason for the increased prescription of anti-depressants for hot flashes is their action on the neurotransmitters. The center in the brain that regulates your mood and your body temperature are both affected by the same chemicals in the body.
This is the reason that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), two classes of anti-depressants, can be used to treat mood disorders as well as hot flashes.
The relief from hot flashes happens rather quickly. Women report that their symptoms are getting better within a week to 10 days. It appears that hot flash relief comes at lower drug doses than the dosage that is required for depression and anxiety.
Small clinical trials have shown that Effexor and Paxil are more effective that other anti-depressants for hot flash relief but these data are not conclusive.
Anti-depressants, because of their influence on the brain chemistry, can cause new and different symptoms. For example, if you are suffering from mood swings, some of the anti-depressants can lead to episodes of mania, which is certainly not the result you were after!
And many women report that their sluggishness, a problem for many women in menopause, is getting worse.
The downside of the use of these powerful drugs should not be overlooked. Not only can they be easily misused, they have a number of potential serious side effects. Just read the labels for any of these powerful drugs to get a feel for the possible risks.
After all, you are messing with the chemistry in your brain in a major way.
|If you are taking any anti depressants, do not stop the use abruptly, but gradually reduce the amount of the drug per your doctor’s recommendation.|
It is always recommended to try other, less risky menopause treatment options before using anti-depressant drugs for hot flashes treatment. But for those women who can’t get help any other way or who also suffer from depression, they are a true blessing.
Clonidine is available as a pill and as a patch. Results for hot flash relief with clonidine are mixed. It appears that it can benefit those women who have both high blood pressure and hot flashes. Some women report unpleasant side effects when they take Clonidine.
Gabapentin is a drug for seizures but is used for some other illnesses such as migraine headaches or nerve pain. Common side effects of Gababentin are dizziness, drowsiness and swelling.
It has been shown effective for the treatment of hot flashes in some clinical trials. This drug should not be stopped abruptly. Follow the guidelines from your doctor to gradually ease the use of Gababentin.
Gababentin appears to be more effective than Clonidine for hot flashes treatment. How Gababentin works is not clear.
A note on Tamoxifen:
Tamoxifen is commonly prescribed for women with breast cancer. One of the possible side effects are severe hot flashes. Due to the estrogen related nature of some breast cancers, hormone therapy is not an option for most women who take tamoxifen.
A good alternative to treat the hot flashes (beneficial for all women but especially for those with limited options) is Acupuncture. Acupuncture has recently been shown in several studies to alleviate hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. It is becoming more and more mainstream as a treatment for menopause symptoms for women with breast cancer.
Conclusion about Menopause Medication and Medicine
Modern science has given us numerous drugs to treat our illnesses. The more we learn about menopause and hot flashes, the more options are available for the treatment of these symptoms.
However, the drugs we discussed in this article are very powerful and should only be considered by those women who have reasons beyond hot flash relief to take them.
If your personal health history allows, try some of the less invasive treatments like herbal supplements or acupuncture first.
Questions or Comments or Suggestions? Just leave us note!