New menopause drug can cut hot flushes in just three days
A new menopause drug could dramatically cut hot flushes and sleeplessness in just three days. Scientists hailed the results as "game-changing", holding out hopes for a new alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Research by Imperial College London found that the drug compounds, tested on menopausal women, cut the number of hot flushes by almost three-quarters.
Women taking the drugs reported an 82pc decrease in sleep interruptions and a 77pc drop in episodes of lost concentration.
Many of those who suffer bad effects to a troublesome extent shun HRT, because it has been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer and blood clots.
The average menopause lasts for seven years, and four-in-five women will suffer hot flushes. The trial involved 37 menopausal women aged between 40 and 62 who experienced seven or more hot flushes a day.
Participants were randomly chosen to first receive either an 80mg daily dose of the drug, called MLE4901, or a placebo over the course of a four-week period, before the groups were swapped.
Early findings from the trial showed that the compound significantly reduced the average total number of flushes during the four-week treatment period.
The drug works by targeting receptors in the brain, blocking a chemical called neurokinin B (NKB).
Prof Waljit Dhillo, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial, said: "This new analysis confirms the beneficial effect is obtained very quickly - within just three days."
He added: "The specific compound was found to affect liver function, so future research will focus on similar drugs, which also block NKB but do not appear to carry these side effects."
The research is published in the journal 'Menopause'.