Have you been prescribed antidepressants to treat hot flushes or hot flashes even though you may not feel depressed?

Antidepressants for Hot Flushes

Can antidepressants be prescribed to treat hot flushes or hot flashes?

Yes. In Menopause FAQS: Hot Flashes – Q. Are there treatments for hot flashes? the North American Menopause Society elaborate on:

Antidepressants for Hot Flushes

“A. …For women who prefer not to take hormones or cannot hormones, nonhormone drugs approved to treat depression, called selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been found to be effective in treating hot flashes in women who don’t have depression”.

 On page two in Menopause: What Can You Do To Help With the Menopause? the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain about Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT):

  • “If you cannot take MHT, other medications such as antidepressants – selective serotonin (SSRIs) or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) – and a chronic pain medicine can reduce hot flushes”.

In Hot Flashes: What Can I Do? Medications: Non-Hormone Options for Treating Hot Flashes the (United States) National Institute on Aging elaborate on:

“Women who use an antidepressant to help manage hot flashes generally take a lower dose than people who use the medication to treat depression”.

Revised Global Consensus Statement

What is one of the points of consensus about the use of SSRIs and SNRIs?

One of the points of consensus in the Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Section A: Benefits/Risk Profile of MHT – endorsed by seven menopause-related organizations – published online 20 June 2016, is:

  • “If MHT is contraindicated or not desired for treatment of VMS, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotoninnorepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as paroxetine, escitalopram, venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine, which have been shown to be effective in randomized controlled trials (RCTs), may be considered”.

Approved Antidepressant

Which antidepressant has been approved by the (United States) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hot flushes?

In Hot Flashes: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment: Antidepressants the (United States) Mayo Clinic explain:

“A low-dose form of paroxetine (Brisdelle) is the only nonhormone treatment for hot flashes approved by the Food and Drug Administration”.


Which antidepressants may be prescribed to treat hot flashes?

In Hot Flashes: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment: Antidepressants the Mayo Clinic explain:

“Other antidepressants that have been used to treat hot flashes include:

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR, Pristiq)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Others)

These medications aren’t as effective as hormone therapy for severe hot flashes, but they can be helpful to women who can’t use hormones. Possible side effects include nausea, dizziness, weight gain, dry mouth or sexual dysfunction”.

In Menopause Management: Non-Hormonal Prescription Medications – Antidepressants the JH explain:

“A group of antidepressants called SSRIs/SNRIs (selective serotonin or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors – for example, venlafaxine, paroxetine, escitalopram and fluoxetine) have been studied and found to relieve hot flushes. If these medications are going to be effective in reducing hot flushes, they will do so quite quickly. Like all medications, these can have side effects, some examples being nausea, dry mouth and/or insomnia. Paradoxically, sometimes these medications can cause sweats. In breast cancer survivors on tamoxifen, paroxetine and fluoxetine should not be taken as they can reduce the effectiveness of the tamoxifen”.

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Last Updated: 23 September 2019 – Last Revised: 23 September 2019
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