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Escitalopram reduces hot flashes in nondepressed menopausal women: A pilot study

Roseanne DeFronzo Dobkin, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Matthew Menza, MD

Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Lesley A. Allen, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Humberto Marin, MD

Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Karina L. Bienfait, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Jade Tiu, BA

Department of Psychiatry. UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Jennifer Howarth, BA

Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

BACKGROUND: Hot flashes are one of the most troubling manifestations of menopause, affecting about 80% of women. Due to recent controversies about hormone replacement therapy, many women seek alternative treatments. The use of antidepressants to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms has been an active area of investigation. However, the majority of past research in this area has included women with significant medical or psychiatric histories that may influence treatment response. This was the first study to examine the impact of escitalopram on hot flashes, mood, sleep, and quality of life in a sample of healthy nondepressed menopausal women.

METHODS: This study enrolled 25 menopausal women who had no significant psychiatric or medical history. All women were treated with escitalopram (10 to 20 mg flexibly dosed) for 8 weeks. The active treatment phase was preceded by a single-blind placebo lead-in period.

RESULTS: Over the course of the study, women reported significant decreases in both hot flash frequency and severity as well as improvements in dysphoria, anxiety, quality of life, and sleep.

CONCLUSION: These preliminary findings suggest that escitalopram may be a feasible and effective option for treating hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms in healthy women who might not ordinarily consider antidepressant treatment.

KEYWORDS: escitalopram, hot flashes, nonclinical sample, nondepressed menopausal women

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2009;21:70–76

CORRESPONDENCE: Roseanne DeFronzo Dobkin, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ—Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 675 Hoes Lane, Room D-317, Piscataway NJ 08854 USA. E-MAIL: dobkinro@umdnj.edu
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2009 American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists

 
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