Which nonhormonal treatments are effective for hot flashes?
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Q Which nonhormonal treatments are effective for hot flashes? Evidence-based answer: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs [fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine]) and the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine, as well as clonidine and gabapentin, reduce hot flashes by about 25% (approximately one per day) in women with and without a history of breast cancer. No studies compare medications against each other to determine a single best option (strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials [RCTs]). In comparison, estrogen reduces the frequency of hot flashes by about 75%, or 2.5 to 3 per day. The phytoestrogens (soy isoflavones, red clover extract, black cohosh), vitamin E, and nonpharmacologic measures (relaxation therapy, exercise, acupuncture, homeopathy, magnet therapy) lack evidence of effectiveness (SOR: A, meta-analyses of RCTs, many of which were low quality).