Anesthetic reduced frequency of menopausal hot flashes by half.

Menopausal women treated with a stellate ganglion blockade showed a 50% reduction in moderate-to-severe hot flashes, according to preliminary data presented at Anesthesiology 2013.

Bupivacaine is currently indicated for local or regional anesthesia or analgesia.

“This is the first effective, non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes, which for many women have a serious negative effect on their lives. This treatment will also help breast cancer patients who suffer from hot flashes as a side effect of their treatments of medication. Some breast cancer patients stop taking their medication (tamoxifen) because of hot flashes,”David R. Walega, MD, chief of the division of pain medicine and program director of the multidisciplinary pain medicine fellowship department of anesthesiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a press release.

Researchers randomly assigned 40 menopausal women aged 30 to 65 years with more than 25 vasomotor symptoms per week to an injection of 0.5% bupivacaine 5 mL or sterile saline.

There was a 19% reduction in hot flashes 4 to 6 months after the injection in the bupivacaine group, according to researchers.

Analyses revealed hot flashes decreased 34% from baseline to 6 months among patients in the bupivacaine group vs. placebo. Further, reductions in moderate-to-severe hot flashes were significantly greater among the bupivacaine group vs. the placebo group (RR=0.5; 95% CI, 0.34-0.73), according to data.

“This is a fast, relatively painless, long-lasting and cost-effective treatment for hot flashes,” Walega said. “It has tremendous potential to help not only menopausal women, but also breast cancer patients and women in surgical menopause (whose ovaries have been removed), who have had to put up with ineffective treatments or simply ‘grin and bear it.’”

Source: Endocrine Today.

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