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ANTIDEPRESSANTS FOR HOT FLASHES

SHOULD WOMEN WHO EXPERIENCE HOT FLASHES USE ANTIDEPRESSANTS TO CONTROL THEM?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Use of certain antidepressants is recommended to women who are experiencing troublesome hot flashes, either as a result of menopause or because they are taking hormone therapy as part of their breast cancer treatment.  Yet use of such a medication isn’t desirable over a lifetime.  Ben Park, a breast cancer expert, says women who need such medications can stop taking them at some point.

PARK: That’s something that could be done because they’re taking it for a different reason.  In the psychiatric world or literature, sometimes it is very difficult to take patients off of antidepressant medicines because of the fact that they’re going to rebound and they may not be able to actually come off the medicines, but I think in this particular instance because it’s really to curtail the side effects of hormone therapies that there is an expectation that we could wean those off and that in fact is done.  :27

Park says weaning from antidepressants can be attempted at any point in treatment.  If symptoms return the medication can be started again.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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