Hormone replacement therapy has its positive and negative effects, and the proven risk of breast cancer has stopped many women from choosing hormone replacement for menopausal problems. Yet menopausal problems can be a source of suffering and frustration for those women who are affected. Menopausal hot flashes can be bothersome, and if they are severe, frequent and go on for years, women find it difficult to cope with this condition. Even if hormone replacement is not an option because of the risk factors, relief of those symptoms is very much needed. Herbal remedies are often not sufficient. As a result the day to day functioning of the patient is affected and even a restful night is interrupted by sweating.
Dr. Sireesha Reddy from the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester’s school of medicine and dentistry has led a study of 60 postmenopausal women. A medication called gabapentin was used in a randomized study. Three equal groups were observed: the first received gabapentin titrated to 2,400 mg per day. The second group received 0.625 mg per day of estrogen, and the third group was given a placebo. The gabapentin group and the estrogen group achieved similar results, namely a 71% reduction, versus 72% in the estrogen group. The placebo group reported a 54 % reduction of hot flashes.
Dr. Reddy states that gabapentin against hot flashes is a good alternative. It works for patients who only have these particular problems, as it does not address other indications where estrogen is prescribed.
Dr. Reddy also added that it might not be necessary to titrate to 2,400 mg gabapentin per day, because some women metabolize it at a higher rate than others.
Specific side effects such as headaches and dizziness occurred more frequently in the gabapentin group, but they were not statistically significant.
Reference: The Medical Post, July 18, 2006, page 4
Comment on Nov. 13, 2012: This is an example of symptomatic therapy for one symptom, in this case hot flashes, but the trade-off are side effects like headaches and dizziness, which were discussed away because they were “statistically not significant”. Women in menopause have a lack of estrogen and progesterone, which is sensed by the receptors for both of these hormones throughout the woman’s body. The solution is bio-identical hormone replacement with specific hormone measurements as discussed under this link.
Last edited December 6, 2012