Could SSRIs be used to manage hot flashes in men on ADT?

There are new data showing that the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro/Forest) — a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor or SSRI — can significantly reduce hot flashes among women undergoing menopause. If that is the case, one wonders whether drugs of this class might have a similar impact on hot flashes in men on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).

According to the news story on Reuters yesterday evening, 205 healthy women (each of whom was having an average of 10 hot flashes a day) were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to test treatment with escitalopram compared to a placebo. Among the women who were treated with escitalopram, 55 percent had a reduction of 50 percent or more in the number/frequency of their hot flashes. This compared to 36 percent having a reduction of 50 percent or more among the women taking a placebo. The hot flashes returned within 2-3 weeks of stopping the antidepressant.

The data from this trial are published by Freeman et al. in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Obviously, it is completely unknown at this time whether a similar response might be observed in men receiving ADT.

2 Responses

  1. I have been on daily Effexor (venlafaxine) since 2000, long before Dx in 2007. Venlafaxine is a recommended antidote for hot flushes. It didn’t seem to make a difference but perhaps my body was accustomed.


  2. Beware: A possible side-effect of many(most?) anti-depressants is suicidal thoughts. At one point in my prostate cancer adventures a doctor not familiar with those medicines prescribed a full dose for me, and it nearly was enough to put me over the edge. When I checked with another doctor, he threw a fit because he knew that patients should be started on a quarter-dose and gradually work up to a full dose in order to minimize the chances of such problems. So make sure your doctor knows what they are doing if they do prescribe you any of these!

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