Menopause drug that ‘turns off’ hot flashes could be available by the end of the year

Menopause drug that ‘turns off’ hot flashes in just days could be available by the end of the year after it is approved in the US as a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of women who can’t take hormone replacement therapy

  • The first non-hormonal drug for menopause, called fezolinetant, acts on the brain
  • The women reported a reduction in the severity of hot flashes and better sleep quality.

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A menopause drug that ‘turns off’ hot flashes in just a few days could be available by the end of the year.

The game-changing drug, called fezolinetant, works directly in the brain and could be a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of women who can’t take hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Earlier this month, the US approved fezolinetant, which is the first non-hormonal drug for menopause.

Its creators describe it as a therapy “based on our understanding of the biology behind hot flashes.”

The drug works by blocking a brain protein called neurokinin 3, which plays a role in regulating body temperature in menopausal women.

A menopause drug that 'turns off' hot flashes in just a few days could be available by the end of the year (file image)

A menopause drug that ‘turns off’ hot flashes in just a few days could be available by the end of the year (file image)

The game-changing drug, called fezolinetant, could be a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of women unable to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (file image)

The game-changing drug, called fezolinetant, could be a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of women unable to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (file image)

The game-changing drug, called fezolinetant, could be a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of women unable to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (file image)

A large trial published this year showed that 12 weeks of taking the pill once daily reduced the frequency of hot flashes by about 60 percent in women with moderate or severe symptoms, compared with a 45 percent drop in those taking it. they took a placebo.

The women also reported a reduction in the severity of hot flashes and better sleep quality.

“This is going to be a completely successful drug,” said Professor Waljit Dhillo, an endocrinologist at Imperial College London.

It’s like a switch. In a day or two, the hot flashes are gone; it’s amazing how well these drugs work.

“It’s going to completely change the game for a lot of women.”

Fezolinetant, made by the Japanese firm Astellas Pharma, is now being evaluated by the European Medicines Agency.

A decision is expected this year, with the UK to follow a few months later.

The drug doesn’t affect estrogen levels, which drop precipitously during menopause, so it won’t address symptoms of fatigue and mood swings like HRT does.

But HRT isn’t right for everyone, including those with a history of breast or ovarian cancer.

“If you can’t take HRT, there aren’t many really effective options,” said Professor Annice Mukherjee, a consultant endocrinologist at Coventry University. Women need options.

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