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Pilot Evaluation of Gabapentin for Treating Hot Flashes

      Objective

      To obtain pilot prospective data regarding the efficacy and tolerability of gabapentin for alleviating hot flashes.

      Patients and Methods

      This prospective single-arm clinical trial was conducted between July 26, 2001, and November 30, 2001. Patients underwent a baseline week and then 4 weeks of gabapentin treatment, with increasing doses during the first 3 weeks, from 300 to 600 to 900 mg/d. Data were obtained primarily from patient-completed questionnaires.

      Results

      Data from 20 evaluable women (of 24 entered in the trial) were available. Four patients discontinued use of gabapentin for perceived drug-related untoward symptoms, primarily related to light-headedness and dizziness. The 16 patients who completed this clinical trial had a mean reduction in hot flash frequency, in the fourth treatment week compared to the baseline week, of 66%. Their corresponding hot flash score (frequency times average severity) reduction was 70%. Additionally, patients who completed the 4 treatment weeks had a strong tendency to report an improvement in several other symptoms.

      Conclusion

      Although a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial should be conducted to better elucidate the efficacy and toxicity of gabapentin in patients with hot flashes, the available data suggest that gabapentin is a reasonable treatment to consider in patients with hot flashes if they do not wish to use hormonal therapy.
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      Linked Article

      • Hot Flashes: The Old and the New, What Is Really True?
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 77Issue 11
        • Preview
          Estradiol levels decline intermittently during the perimenopausal transition and permanently after menopause. As a consequence, women experience symptoms related to urogenital atrophy, vasomotor instability, neurocognitive dysfunction, accelerated bone loss, and cardiovascular disease. For some women, vasomotor instability and associated insomnia are disabling.
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