Venlafaxine Preferred Over Gabapentin for Hot Flashes

Study assesses breast cancer survivors' preference between two treatments for hot flashes

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors may prefer venlafaxine for treating hot flashes over gabapentin, according to research published online Nov. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Louise Bordeleau, M.D., of the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues analyzed data from 66 women who had at least 14 bothersome hot flashes weekly in the previous month. The women participated in a randomized, open-label, crossover trial of four weeks of venlafaxine versus gabapentin. The primary outcome was patient preference.

Fifty-six women offered a preference. The researchers found that 32 percent preferred gabapentin and 68 percent preferred venlafaxine. Both treatments were associated with a 66 percent reduction in hot flash scores. Patient preferences were correlated with standard hot flash outcome measurements. Across all patients, venlafaxine was linked to more nausea, appetite loss, and constipation, but fewer negative mood changes. Gabapentin was linked to more dizziness and increased appetite.

"To summarize, the results from this trial support the use of venlafaxine as a first-line therapy for moderate to severe hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. Gabapentin is also effective and remains a viable alternative for women with insufficient response to, or with poor tolerance for, venlafaxine," the authors conclude.

Two co-authors disclosed financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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