Brisdelle (paroxetine 7.5mg) was just approved by the FDA as the first non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes associated with menopause. It is a low dose formulation of the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine).
Traditionally menopause symptoms have been treated using conventional hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). This can mean an estrogen-only treatment, or estrogen combined with progesterone. There are oral options (Premarin, estradiol), topical options (Estrace, Vagifem), transdermal patches (Climara, Vivelle-Dot), and compounded products, amongst others. These therapies are the most effective at treating symptoms associated with menopause, However, HRT is associated with certain health risks, including an increased risk of heart disease, blood clots, stroke and breast cancer. There are also several side effects related to hormone therapy including nausea, bloating, tenderness, and bleeding.
Paroxetine has been used off-label to treat moderate to severe symptoms associated with menopause in the past, but Briselle is the first non-hormone treatment specifically approved for that use. Studies showed a 57 – 59% decrease in the frequency of hot flashes in women who had seven or more episodes a day. This is less of a decrease than seen with conventional HRT, but Briselle offers an option if there is a concern of health risk associated with HRT.
Other non-hormonal treatment options are also available, if neither HRT nor Briselle are options. If you have any questions talk to your pharmacist or health care professional.
Till next week,
The GoodRx Pharmacist