The Cochrane Library has reviewed allopathic and CAM nonhormonal options.

First, the details.

  • 16 studies met the inclusion criteria.
    • Relaxation therapy: 2 studies
    • Homeopathy: 2
    • Vitamin E: 1
    • Magnetic devices: 1
    • Acupuncture: 1
    • Selective serotonin (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine (SNRI) reuptake inhibitors: (6 studie)
    • Clonidine (Catapres): 2
    • Gabapentin (Neurontin): 1
  • The risk of bias in most studies was rated as low or moderate.

And, the results.

  • 1 of the 2 relaxation therapy studies showed a significant benefit.
  • 1 study of vitamin E showed no beneficial effect.
  • None of the other non-pharmacological therapies had a significant benefit.
  • 3 pharmacological treatments (SSRIs and SNRIs, clonidine, and gabapentin) reduced the number and severity of hot flushes.
  • Side effects were inconsistently reported.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Clonidine, SSRIs and SNRIs, gabapentin, and relaxation therapy showed a mild to moderate effect on reducing hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer.”

Earlier this year researchers at the University of Tromso, in Norway, reviewed the evidence for acupuncture to treat menopausal problems. Their conclusion is in conflict with this review. The Norwegian researchers concluded, “that acupuncture needling relieves hot flushes.” However, they also concluded there was “little support for a point-specific effect of acupuncture in this condition.”

9/9/10 18:50 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.