If you think hot flashes are depressing, wait until you see what some doctors prescribe to ‘fix’ them!
If you, or someone you know, experiences hot flashes, a doctor might prescribe…
wait for it…
You heard right. Antidepressants are being prescribed to treat the symptoms of hot flashes.
These are the same drugs that have side effects such as nausea, headache, sleep disorders, constipation, dry mouth, hypertension, dizziness, tremor, and loss of both physical strength and sex drive.
On top of that, they’re being given to women who aren’t depressed!
But recent research has uncovered the fact that acupuncture is not only equally effective at relieving hot flashes than these drugs, but that the relief lasts longer that the drug treatment. And instead of side effects, they actually had improvements in their overall quality of life.
The “Old” Wins Out Against The “New”
Treating menopause symptoms with antidepressants (in this study, Effexor was used) is what is called an ‘off-label’ use for the drug. In other words, a use it was never approved for.
The study comparing acupuncture with antidepressants, presented at a meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, compared results of taking Effexor to receiving acupuncture. The women in the study were breast cancer patients who had at least 14 serious episodes of hot flashes a week.
About half the women were treated with Effexor in a high dose, the dosage shown to be most effective for hot flashes. The other half received acupuncture treatments. At the end of 12 weeks, both groups reported similar levels of relief, not only from the hot flashes, but also from other menopause symptoms.
Final Score: Acupuncture 3, Antidepressants 0
Even though both groups got relief, there were notable differences between them:
- One major difference between groups was in side effects. The acupuncture group had none. The group given the antidepressant had many, including nausea, headache, sleep disorders, constipation, fatigue and anxiety.
- Another major difference was in how long the relief lasted. For women taking Effexor, the relief lasted only 2 weeks after treatment stopped. The women receiving acupuncture got relief for nearly 4 months after the end of treatments.
- Dr. Eleanor M. Walker, the Henry Ford director of breast radiation oncology, also stated that subjects in the acupuncture group reported they had more energy, a greater sense of well-being, and better sex drive than those who received Effexor.
I don’t know about you, but if I have a choice of an all-natural treatment that is free of side effects and that works better than a drug, I’ll chose it every time…