HOT FLUSHES are a taboo, with many women suffering in silence. But there is relief in sight. A therapy is being experimented and holds no little hope for women approaching menopause. The therapy, still in early stages of development, is aimed at one of the worst symptoms of ‘the change’ – and being non-hormonal, has lower risks As someone, who was engaged in the early research on HRT, I’m well aware of its shortcomings. As the years passed, we learned more about how it can affect a woman’s body, a lot of it good, some of it bad. So it’s good to hear about an entirely new way of treating one of the most troublesome symptoms of the ¬menopause – hot flushes. At the moment, however, it’s early days. This new treatment isn’t available. It’s still theory, but a very good one. Just don’t think of it as the Holy Grail. It only treats hot flushes, not any other ¬menopausal symptoms. The treatment works by blocking a brain signal that triggers the flushes. Dr Julia Prague, an endocrinologist at Imperial College London, said: “Of all menopausal symptoms, hot flushes tend to bother women more than anything else.
Rex Scientists have been testing the new treatment on rats “The impact on women’s lives can be huge, but because menopause is still a taboo subject, many suffer in silence.” As Dr Prague explains, hot flushes are triggered by the release of a brain hormone called neurokinin B (NKB) in response to dropping oestrogen levels. The Imperial team gave NKB to rats and they had the rodent equivalent of a hot flush. Given
a drug to block its effect, the flushes stopped. Dr Prague and her colleagues want to recruit at least 30 women to a four-month trial on another drug called AZD4901, originally ¬developed to treat schizophrenia . That one could be prescribed by GPs within five years, instead of HRT. “It could be hugely significant for women who can’t take HRT, or for those who continue to suffer from flushes despite using hormone replacement,” said Dr Prague.
The research is being done at Imperial College London Dr Tim Hillard of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said HRT was recognised as an “effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, particularly in the -management of hot flushes,” by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence . He added: “Finding safe and effective alternatives to help these women, as well as those women who would rather not take HRT or who want a
treatment specifically for one symptom such as hot flushes, is very important.” The new treatment would help a lot of women I’ve spoken to, those who have 30 or more hot flushes a day and have to change bedding at night-time due to night sweats. The best news for women is the new treatment is non- hormonal and avoids an increase in breast cancer and blood clot risk. Roll on the day!

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