Use of Antidepressants for Management of Hot Flashes


visit http:www.atypon-link.comPPIloiphco. University Medical Center, Box 870374, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0374; e-mail:


A growing body of evidence suggests that antidepressant therapies, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and venlafaxine, are effective in the management of hot flash symptoms. Several of these agents have the support of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the North American Menopause Society. To review the literature on antidepressants for the treatment of hot flashes in women, we searched the PubMed, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and MEDLINE databases from inception through May 2009. All publication types that included human participants and that were published in English were eligible for review. These articles, relevant abstracts, and additional references were used to collect pertinent data. Although initial small pilot trials were conducted solely in breast cancer survivors, additional studies have been conducted both in breast cancer survivors and in relatively healthy menopausal women. Data on the benefits with many of these agents are conflicting. Venlafaxine and paroxetine have been studied more extensively than any of the other antidepressants and are more consistent in effectively reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes, based on these study results. Desvenlafaxine, sertraline, fluoxetine, and citalopram should be considered second- or third-line options if patients fail therapy with or cannot tolerate venlafaxine or paroxetine, based on the current published data. Duloxetine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, and mirtazapine should be reserved as last-line therapy until more rigorous studies are conducted assessing their use in the management of hot flashes.