A new antidepressant medication is an effective treatment for diminishing hot flashes in men who are receiving hormone therapy for prostate cancer, Mayo Clinic researchers report in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The five-week study followed 18 men who completed the therapy, illustrating that their hot flashes decreased from 6.2 per day to 2.5 per day. Hot flash scores, the frequency multiplied by the severity, decreased in the same period from 10.6 per day to 3 per day.
“Newer antidepressants have been proven effective in reducing hot flashes in women but have not been studied in men,” says Charles Loprinzi, M.D., Mayo Clinic Division of Medical Oncology and the lead author of the study. “Although hot flashes in men with prostate cancer are well documented, their treatment has not received as much attention.” Hormonal treatments for male hot flashes have been studied, but there is a concern that they may affect prostate cancer growth and/or cause significant side effects.
The study looked at men receiving androgen ablation therapy, also known as hormonal deprivation therapy, which is a well-established treatment for various stages of prostate cancer. The antidepressant used, paroxetine, has been used to treat mental depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder, among others. A placebo-controlled trial had previously demonstrated that paroxetine reduced hot flashes in women.
The study was conducted between August 2001 and October 2003. Men eligible for the study had to have a history of prostate cancer for which they were receiving androgen ablation therapy.
Others who worked with Dr. Loprinzi on this study are: Debra Barton, R.N., Ph.D.; Lisa Carpenter; Jeff Sloan, Ph.D.; Paul Novotny; Matthew Gettman, M.D.; and Bradley Christensen, all from Mayo Clinic.