Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Drugs for menopause

This is getting so out of control in my opinion, but for those of you who still have horrible hot flashes, I suppose it could be good news.

Seizure drug enhances sleep for women with hot flashes

Gabapentin, a drug initially used to treat seizures, improves sleep quality in menopausal women with hot flashes, University of Rochester Medical Center researchers report online and in the September issue of the Journal of Women's Health.

Approximately 40 percent of menopausal women experience sleep disruption, often in the form of difficulty with sleep initiation and frequent nighttime awakenings. The study is the first to show sustained benefits in sleep quality from gabapentin, which Rochester researchers already have demonstrated alleviates hot flashes.

"Gabapentin improves sleep quality but does not have the potential dependency problems of some other sleep medications and does not involve the use of hormone replacement therapy," said Michael E. Yurcheshen, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology and the lead author of the article.

"It has minimal side effects and it is a generic drug," said Yurcheshen, who is based at the Strong Sleep Disorders Center. "That makes it a very attractive treatment for these problems in this patient population."

For the current study, researchers used data from a previously published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of gabapentin in 59 postmenopausal women who experienced seven to 20 hot flashes daily. The subjects took either 300 milligrams of gabapentin three times a day or a placebo.

The research used a factor analysis of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a well-known and validated questionnaire, to evaluate sleep. The results showed overall improvement in the sleep quality score, even after 12 weeks of treatment.

Gabapentin's impact on the sleep quality factor in menopausal women may reflect improvement in hot flashes, stabilization of sleep architecture, or a decrease in the amount of time to transition from wakefulness to sleep, the researchers wrote. It is also possible that gabapentin improved sleep quality by addressing underlying sleep pathology, such as restless legs syndrome.
"We really are not sure which mechanism is responsible, but this study suggests that it does work to improve sleep quality," Yurcheshen said. Read the full article here

What are your feelings?


  1. I guess when you are talking about more than forty hot flashes in a day, I have no business judging. I think that women can get just a little overboard in looking for a pill to make a natural process easier, though. I am 57 and still get a regular period, but ALSO hot flashes, PMS, and odd skin breakouts. I know I can look into herbal things and diet, etc. Mostly i just figure that's my genetics at work, but I don't have the HUGE problems some women do. I DO have insomnia sometimes, quite profoundly. My doctor suggested seratonin and it works great ... FOR ME. We're all different. But, man. I don't know what I would do if I had the kinds of hot flashes that woke me up, made me turn bright red when I was sitting in a chair... so many things other women go through. Well I am no help at ALL!

  2. I agree, Jeannette....we're all so different and as women, we can't judge each other on individual choices. Whatever works!! :)

    You are somewhat later reaching menopause and I was early at 41. That's the kind of range I've seen over and over for the past 14 years.

    I had very severe hot flashes for about 5 years, but never nightsweats so I consider myself lucky.

    Glad you found a solution for your insomnia. My latest post is about sleep problems in menopause so feel free to chime in there too!

  3. I've been having hot flashes for 7 SEVEN! years, although they haven't been consistent in occurrence. In any case, I'm glad to have found your blog. Misery loves company. ;) I'm considering Amberen, but definitely will not take HRT or any other "drug" if I can help it.