A Non-Hormonal Approach to Hot Flashes
By Ayo Avworo, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Vasomotor symptoms, commonly known as hot flashes, are intense feelings of heat, (usually) accompanied by profuse sweating, dampness, and flushing lasting about 4 to 10 minutes. They are the most common complaint among women entering menopause; 60-80% of women experience hot flashes at some point during the menopausal transition. Hot flashes can negatively impact a woman’s physical, psychological, sexual, and overall wellbeing as they may be accompanied by heart palpitations (sensation that your heart is racing), feelings of anxiety, and sleep disruption leading to fatigue, tiredness and irritability.
The mechanisms that lead to hot flashes are not fully understood although we know reproductive hormones play an integral role as the symptoms typically occur in the context of dramatic reproductive hormone changes during menopause i.e., elevated levels of follicle stimulating hormones and decreased estrogen production. Over the last 20 years or so, studies have also identified increases in a chemical produced by the brain called neurokinin B (NKB). In menopausal women NKB triggers hot flashes to occur. A new medication is being studied in clinical trials that stops NKB from causing hot flashes.
While exogenous estrogen (estrogen hormone therapy with or without progestin) has been used in the treatment of hot flashes, long-term safety concerns associated with risks of breast cancer, coronary artery disease, stroke, and thromboembolism (blood clots) have limited the use of exogenous estrogen. Limited effectiveness and side effects observed with paroxetine (Brisdelle 7.5mg daily) the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved non-hormonal therapy currently on the market, coupled with the associated risks of hormonal therapy have helped drive the search for better treatment options.
New novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of hot flashes are on the horizon. The new medication being studied that blocks NKB is currently in clinical trials at Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. (CTT) in San Antonio. This non-hormonal treatment is hoped to significantly reduce hot flash symptoms without the need for estrogen. The clinical trial at CTT is studying the safety and effectiveness of this non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes. Study volunteers in San Antonio and surrounding areas are needed. Compensation maybe provided for time and travel. To learn more and/or to participate, call (210) 949-0122, ext. 290 or signup at www.SAresearch.com.
Ayo Avworo, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and investigator with Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. (CTT). CTT is a woman-owned local company, founded in 2001. This multitherapeutic site conducts clinical trials across areas important to our community such as diabetes, fatty liver and Alzheimer’s Disease. You can learn more about participating in our trials by visiting SAresearch.com or calling 210-949-0122, ext. 290.