- Question from MCec: Is there any new research happening on managing treatment-induced menopausal symptoms? If yes, in what direction and with what results?
- Answers - Charles Loprinzi Yes, there are ongoing studies looking at ways of alleviating menopause-related problems in women with breast cancer and women who don't have breast cancer. We currently are completing approval on a clinical trial looking at pregabelin (brand name: Lyrica), which is a cousin medication of gabapentin (brand name: Neurontin). There are studies ongoing looking at paced breathing as a way to prevent hot flashes. There was an interesting report about an injection into a nerve in the neck (stellate ganglion block) for treating hot flashes. This latter item is very preliminary, and work is ongoing to try to better substantiate whether it does or does not help alleviate hot flashes. In addition, there are trials looking at vaginal dryness issues.
- Mindy Goldman, M.D. Because many of the alternatives to hormones that are being used to treat hot flashes have central effects within the brain, potentially many other drugs that affect neurotransmitters in the brain may be of benefit. Given that the survival rates from breast cancer have increased, quality of life issues are becoming much more important and I expect that we'll see many more studies coming out looking at alternatives to hormones in treating breast cancer patients. Certainly, in some women even the use of post-menopausal therapy may be considered although this is a controversial area. I would certainly not recommend this until all other options have been exhausted and not without discussing with your oncologist.
On Wednesday, August 20, 2008, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Menopausal Symptoms. Charles Loprinzi, M.D. and Mindy Goldman, M.D. answered your questions about how you can manage menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and more.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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