In a trial carried out at Imperial College London, researchers showed that women who suffered seven or more hot flushes a day could reduce the number by as much as 73 per cent, as well as reducing their severity and impact.
The team hopes that this successful early-stage study, published in The Lancet and involving a drug which targets receptors in the brain, could provide hope for women who are affected by flushes and for whom hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is either unsuitable or not preferred by the patient due to safety concerns.
Professor Waljit Dhillo, an NIHR Research Professor from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, said: “If a woman is having more than seven flushes a day and the drug is getting rid of three-quarters of them, that’s pretty life-changing.
“For day to day living and work, that’s a significant impact on quality of life. If we can reduce flushing by 73 per cent it’s a game-changer for those patients.”
The menopause is when a women’s periods stop and she is no longer able to have children naturally. As the levels of oestrogen fall, typically around 45 to 55 years of age, it leads to a number of physical changes, including menopausal flushing and profuse sweating.
For many women, these hot flushes may be little more than an uncomfortable inconvenience. But for some, frequent severe episodes can lead to clothes and bed sheets drenched in sweat, as well as relentless waking from sleep which impacts their working, social and home lives.