Lexapro for Hot Flashes

Lexapro helped quality of life for menopausal women by lowering the number of hot flashes

(RxWiki News) Hot flashes can get in the way of social activities, work, and sleep. Help managing hot flashes can improve quality of life.

A recent study found that taking Lexapro, an antidepressant, helped women. It lowered the number of hot flashes.

Women also said that they had better quality of life and daily life activities.

"Talk to your doctor about your menopause symptoms."

The study, led by Janet Carpenter, PhD, of Indiana University, compared women taking Lexapro (escitalopram) to placebo, or sugar pill.

There were 205 midlife women in the study. Researchers followed-up with the women four and eight weeks after the start of the study.

Women taking Lexapro started on 10 mg/day. Any women who did not have at least 50 percent fewer hot flashes after four weeks had their dose increased to 20 mg/day.

Researchers looked at how much a woman’s hot flashes got in the way of daily function by asking women to keep diaries about their hot flashes.

They also used a survey that asked about work, social activities, leisure activities, sleep, mood, concentration, relations with others, sexuality, enjoyment of life and overall quality of life.

Women rated, from zero to 10, how much their hot flashes got in the way of each of those activities during the week.

Women who were taking Lexapro rated lower scores at both four and eight weeks for interference. In other words, women rated that their hot flashes did not get in the way with their daily life as much.

The study authors also looked to see if there were any factors that might influence who responded to the drug and who did not.

Demographic factors (like age), depression, anxiety, sleep quality and number hot flashes at the beginning of the study did not predict who was helped by the drug.

The authors concluded that Lexapro for eight weeks improved quality of life for menopausal women.

However, there was a trend for women who drank more alcohol to see bigger effects from taking Lexapro.  It is not clear how alcohol might have affected the drug or the women’s accounts of their hot flashes.

Unlike standard hormone therapy for menopause, Lexapro does not have any effects on bone density. The authors suggested that patients work with their doctors to meet their health care needs.

This study was published April 4 in Fertility and Sterility. Forest Research Institute provided the drug for this study.

Review Date: 
August 16, 2012