New Medications for the Treatment of Hot Flashes

AAN3PYMenopausal related hot flashes are an annoying and life altering symptom plaguing millions of adult women. Pfizer and Ligand Pharmaceuticals received approval this month for a new drug named Duavee to treat hot flashes in women who still have a uterus.

Duavee is a combination drug pairing conjugated estrogens with a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) named bezedoxifine. Normally estrogens are paired with progestins with the progesterone used to prevent cellular hyperplasia in the uterus reducing the chance of a malignancy developing.  While this new medication is designed for women with menopausal related hot flashes, it is unclear whether it provides any less of a side effect or cancer risk than current estrogen and progesterone combinations.   It is additionally recommended as a treatment for osteoporosis.  Like most estrogen products, it should be used for the shortest time possible.

Several months ago the FDA approved a non-hormonal treatment of hot flashes with an antidepressant named paroxetine and marketed under the name Brisdelle.  Paroxetine is also marketed as an antidepressant under the brand name Paxil which has been available to treat depression for many years.

It is always wonderful to have new medications available to treat chronic and severe problems.  However, it remains to be seen what clear advantages Duavee brings to clinicians.