by Steven Reinberg
Hot flashes, a common curse in menopause, can be especially bothersome after breast cancer. But a new study suggests an existing medication may help. The drug is oxybutynin (Ditropan XL), long used to treat urinary incontinence. The study found that women taking the medicine had an average of five fewer hot flashes a week, compared with three fewer among women taking a placebo. "Oxybutynin is an option that can control these symptoms and improve quality of life," said lead researcher Dr. Roberto Leon-Ferre, an assistant professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Context: Research led by oncologists Roberto Leon-Ferre, M.D. and Charles Loprinzi, M.D. of Mayo Clinic has found that the drug oxybutynin helps to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes in women who are unable to take hormone replacement therapy, including breast cancer survivors. These findings were presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. “Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause and can be even more severe in breast cancer survivors than they are in the general population,” says Dr. Leon-Ferre. He says several factors contribute to the increased severity of hot flashes in breast cancer survivors including exposure to chemotherapy, which may bring on early menopause; the use of antiestrogen drugs, such as tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors; and the use of medications or procedures to suppress the function of the ovaries. Hormone replacement therapy, which is sometimes used to treat hot flashes, is generally not recommended for breast cancer survivors. “Hot flashes not only impact a patient’s quality of life, they are associated with patients prematurely discontinuing breast cancer treatment, which may increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality,” says Dr. Leon-Ferre. “It is important for physicians to have effective options to treat hot flashes.” You can read more about the research on Mayo Clinic News Network.
Contact: Joe Dangor