One of the major symptoms of climacteric syndrome is hot flushes (HF). They are most often experienced as very disabling. Estrogen therapy is the most effective treatment. However, it may be contraindicated in some women. The aim of this article is to provide a review of the scientific literature on pharmacological and non-pharmacological alternatives in this context. Only randomized trials and meta-analyses of randomized trials were considered. This review shows that some treatments usually used in non-gynecological or endocrinological disease have significant effect in reducing the frequency and/or severity of HF. Hence, some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (paroxetine, citalopram and escitalopram), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine) gabapentin, pregabalin and clonidine have a statistically effect as compared with placebo in reducing, the frequency and/or severity of HF. Some phytoestrogens, such as genistein, may also reduce the frequency of HF. Regarding non-pharmacological interventions, hypnosis, acupuncture or yoga have been analyzed with significant beneficial results, even if their evaluation is difficult by the absence of a good placebo group in most trials. By contrast, other approaches, both pharmacological or non-pharmacological, appear to be ineffective in the management of HT. These include homeopathy, vitamin E, alanine, omega 3, numerous phytoestrogens (red clover, black cohosh…), primrose oil, physical activity. In women suffering from breast cancer, several additional problems are added. On the one hand because all phytoestrogens are contraindicated and on the other hand, in patients using tamoxifen, because the molecules, that interact with CYP2D6, are to be formally avoided because of potential interaction with this anti-estrogen treatment. In conclusion, several pharmacological and non-pharmacological alternatives have significant efficacy in the management of severe HF.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.