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October 16, 2014

Brisdelle: Reflief from Hot Flashes

hot flashes“No woman has ever died from hot flashes – so I don’t worry about not asking women if they are having hot flashes. I’m more concerned about other problems.” That statement comes from a physician. Do you want to guess what gender this physician is? You got it – a male.

But, it wasn’t me. I’m much more sensitive to the concerns of women, or I wouldn’t be writing this article. I like women – especially those not having hot flashes (lol).  This other male physician made his statement to a pharmaceutical representative who was promoting Brisdelle for treatment for hot flashes.

Hot flashes don’t kill, but they can significantly alter quality of life and be a major nuisance and inconvenience to women.

His statement probably illustrates the thinking of many physicians – male and female but mostly male. So it’s important for you to bring that topic up of hot flashes when you visit your physician especially if you are having hot flashes that are interfering with your quality of life. What’s important to you may not be to your doctor – be your own best advocate.

Did you know that each day 6,000 women start menopause or the journey to menopause? I seem to bump into all of 6,000 of them everyday, too. Just kidding.

Hot Flash Therapies

In Having Hot Flashes we discussed natural remedies for hot flashes as well as pharmacologic therapies that can be effective in treating hot flashes. These include hormonal therapies, antidepressants, and herbs. Though antidepressants have been used as a non-hormonal therapy they have been used off-label. The FDA approved Brisdelle in 2013 as the first non-hormonal therapy to treat moderate to severe hot flashes.

Brisdelle: Hot Flash Relief

Brisdelle is an antidepressant and you may recognize its generic name, paroxetine. It’s marketed under the brand name of Paxil to treat depression. The only real difference is the dose. A much smaller dose of paroxetine is all that is needed to treat hot flashes.

Brisdelle is a 7.5 mg capsule and is taken at night. Results are usually seen in 2-4 weeks. Not the first night – so be patient. Usually 20 mg to 50 mg of paroxetine is needed to treat to depression and with those higher doses come more side effects. The most common side effects of Briselle include headache, fatigue, and nausea/vomiting – each occur in 4% to 6% of patients.

We are partial to hormone therapies (HRT) for hot flashes because they provide many other health benefits and do not interfere with libido like antidepressants might. But, Brisdelle could be a good alternative for women who do not wish to consider HRT, or in whom HRT is contraindicated.

But, you need to ask your doctor about it. He or she may not bring it up the option of Brisdelle for hot flash relief even if he or she asks you about hot flashes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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