Drug to Help Overnight Hot Flashes
If you are plagued by hot flashes that interrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tried many days, you will be interested in this study that suggests the value of Gabapentin. Obviously, this is an "ask your doctor about it" situation.
Gabapentin Improves Sleep Quality in Women With Hot Flashes
By Megan Brooks
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Sep 14 - For their female patients experiencing hot flashes as they go through menopause, physicians may want to try the anti-epilepsy drug gabapentin to improve their quality of sleep, according to a new report.
With regard to the drug's potential for helping these women to sleep, "this is a rare example of an agent that might be mechanistically targeted, as opposed to true hypnotics that tend to cause drowsiness through GABAergic or histaminergic actions in a population-nonspecific fashion," Dr. Michael E. Yurcheshen from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York, told Reuters Health in an email.
Dr. Yurcheshen and his colleagues had previously reported on a randomized trial in which 59 postmenopausal women who were experiencing 7 to 20 hot flashes each day were given either gabapentin, 300 mg 3 times a day, or placebo. In that trial, gabapentin was effective at relieving hot flashes. For the current paper in the September Journal of Women's Health, the researchers analyzed Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores for the women in the original study.
Global PSQI scores improved to a significantly greater extent at week 4 in the gabapentin group than in the placebo group, the authors report. The improvement, they add, was "sustained," with effects tending to persist after 12 weeks. In addition, the gabapentin group had significantly greater improvements in sleep quality at weeks 4 and 12 and in sleep efficiency at week 4.
"Gabapentin is already used in clinical practice to control hot flashes, and this specific effect has good prospective data to support it," Dr. Yurcheshen said. "Although hot flashes are only one of the reasons why menopausal women have disrupted sleep, control of this vasomotor symptom certainly can result in fewer nighttime arousals."
"We have a prospective study planned looking at gabapentin and related compounds to prospectively test for improved sleep in a population that is specifically selected for sleep complaints, and screened for sleep-related comorbidities," Dr. Yurcheshen continued. "The planned study will use a battery of subjective and objective outcome measures that will be useful in detecting the effect, and hopefully in determining the mechanisms behind it."
J Women's Health 2009.
Reuters Health Information © 2009
From Reuters Health Information