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    FDA approves first nonhormonal treatment for hot flashes



    FDA has approved low-dose paroxetine capsules (Brisdelle, Noven Pharmaceuticals), 7.5 mg/day, for treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms (VMS) associated with menopause, also referred to as hot flashes and night sweats.

    Prior to the approval of Brisdelle, hormone therapy was the only FDA-approved treatment for VMS. Hot flashes associated with menopause occur in up to 75% of women and can persist for up to 5 years, or even longer in some women.

    Brisdelle’s safety and effectiveness were established in 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in a total of 1175 postmenopausal women with moderate to severe hot flashes (a minimum of 7 to 8 per day or 50 to 60 per week). The treatment period lasted 12 weeks in 1 study and 24 weeks in the other study. The results showed that Brisdelle reduced hot flashes compared with placebo. The mechanism by which Brisdelle reduces hot flashes is unknown. Headache, fatigue, and nausea/vomiting were the most common adverse effects in patients treated with Brisdelle. Nausea occurred primarily within the first 4 weeks of treatment and fatigue occurred primarily within the first week of treatment, and decreased in frequency with continued therapy.

    Brisdelle contains 7.5 mg of paroxetine and is dosed once daily at bedtime. Other medications such as Paxil and Pexeva contain higher doses of paroxetine and are approved for treating conditions such as major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. All medications that are approved for treating depression, including Paxil and Pexeva, have a boxed warning about an increased risk of suicide in children and young adults. Because Brisdelle contains the same active ingredient as Paxil and Pexeva, a boxed warning about suicidality is included in the Brisdelle label. Additional labeled warnings include a possible reduction in the effectiveness of tamoxifen if both medications are used together, an increased risk of bleeding, and a risk of developing serotonin syndrome (signs and symptoms can include confusion, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure).

    Brisdelle will be available in US pharmacies in November 2013. 


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