Non-hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms

Few non-hormonal treatments have been shown to be effective in the management of menopausal symptoms.

Below is a list of the most common treatments and their side effects. Some of these drugs, particularly fluoxetine and paroxetine, may interfere with the way the body breaks down tamoxifen. This may interfere with the action of tamoxifen. Women who are taking tamoxifen should ask their oncologist for more information.

Clonidine

Clonidine is a drug used to treat high blood pressure. It can be used to reduce hot flushes after breast cancer. Side effects of clonidine include a dry mouth and blurred vision.

Gabapentin

Gabapentin is a drug used to treat epileptic fits. It has been shown to be effective in reducing hot flushes. Many women find gabapentin acceptable to use. However, up to half of the women who use gabapentin experience side effects including sleepiness, light-headedness, and dizziness. These side effects may resolve with time or can be reduced by adjusting the dose.

Venlafaxine (Efexor®) and other similar drugs

Many studies have shown that antidepressants like venlafaxine (Efexor®), paroxetine (Paxil®), fluoxetine (Prozac®), citalopram (Celexa®) or sertraline (Zoloft®) may reduce hot flushes. Venlafaxine is more effective than clonidine. These drugs act quickly (within a week) but may not have a long-lasting effect.

Around a quarter of women experience side effects with antidepressants.