New Non-hormonal Therapies for Hot Flashes


Hot flashes (vasomotor symptoms), which can plague women for up to 10 years following the condition’s onset, affect nearly 75% of all perimenopausal women. Unfortunately, the standard of care (e.g., hormone therapy) for hot flashes does not uniformly confer relief for many women. Moreover, there are contraindications for using hormone therapy, including a history of breast cancer, coronary artery disease, high-risk endometrial cancer, and a previous venous thromboembolic (blood clot) event or stroke.

Hot flashes (vasomotor symptoms), which can plague women for up to 10 years following the condition’s onset, affect nearly 75% of all perimenopausal women.

One drug, oxybutynin, which is currently used to treat an overactive bladder and sweating, has provided relief (reduced frequency and severity of hot flashes and better sleep) for 73% of women compared to 26% in the placebo group via a clinical trial. However, oxybutynin, is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Estetrol, a naturally occurring estrogen, has also been studied as a treatment for hot flashes. In a preliminary study, estetrol reduced severe vasomotor symptoms by 44% in postmenopausal women compared to 30% of women who received the placebo. In addition to medication efficacy, we need to learn more about these drugs’ long-term safety because if positive results are ultimately borne out, they would be well-received by women who either cannot use or have not responded favorably to hormone therapy.


About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.


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