Mirtazapine for the Treatment of Hot Flushes in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Prospective Pilot Trial

Authors

  • Nicoletta Biglia MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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  • Franziska Kubatzki MD,

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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  • Paola Sgandurra MD,

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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  • Riccardo Ponzone MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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  • Davide Marenco MD,

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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  • Elisa Peano MD,

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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  • Piero Sismondi MD, PhD

    1. Department of Gynaecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy
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Address correspondence and reprint request to: Nicoletta Biglia, MD, PhD, Mauriziano “Umberto I°” Hospital, Largo Turati 62-10128, Turin, Italy, or e-mail: nbiglia@mauriziano.it.

Abstract

Abstract:  The purposes of the study are to evaluate the efficacy and safety of mirtazapine 30 mg/daily for 12 weeks to reduce hot flushes (HF) in women with previous breast cancer and to assess the influence of the same treatment on sleep quality and other menopausal symptoms. A prospective pilot trial was conducted in 40 breast cancer patients with at least seven HF per day. A HF diary was completed daily; sleep quality and other menopausal symptoms were assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) and the SF-36 Health Survey. Treatment was never started by 13 out of 40 patients (32.5%) and was interrupted by 7 out of 27 patients (25%) due to of the occurrence of side effects (mostly somnolence). In the remaining 20 patients who completed the three months treatment period, there was a 55.6% (p < 0.05) reduction in HF frequency and 61.9% (p < 0.05) reduction in HF score as compared to baseline. A significant reduction in the MRS score (32.8%; p < 0.05) was observed. Mirtazapine appears to be effective in reducing HF in breast cancer survivors. The more frequent side effect was somnolence. A sizeable compiliance problem has been observed due to the reluctance to take antidepressant drugs and to side effects.

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