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Venlafaxine versus clonidine for the treatment of hot flashes in breast cancer patients: a double-blind, randomized cross-over study.

Author(s): Buijs C, Mom CH, Willemse PH, Marike Boezen H, Maurer JM, Wymenga AN, de Jong RS, Nieboer P, de Vries EG, Mourits MJ

Affiliation(s): Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Publication date & source: 2009-06, Breast Cancer Res Treat., 115(3):573-80. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

PURPOSE: Breast cancer patients with treatment-induced menopause experience frequent and severe hot flashes (HF). We compared venlafaxine and clonidine for the treatment of HF with regard to side effects, efficacy, quality of life and sexual functioning. METHODS: In a double-blind, cross-over study, 60 breast cancer patients experiencing HF were randomized to 8 weeks venlafaxine followed by 2 weeks wash-out, and 8 weeks clonidine or vice versa. HF frequency and severity, side effects, quality of life and sexuality were assessed. RESULTS: Thirty patients started with venlafaxine and 30 with clonidine. Premature discontinuation for toxicity occurred in 14/59 during venlafaxine and 5/53 during clonidine (P = .038). Venlafaxine induced more side effects. Median reduction in HF score was 49% for venlafaxine and 55% for clonidine (ns). CONCLUSION: Venlafaxine and clonidine are equally, but moderately effective in HF reduction. Side effects are the main reason for drug discontinuation, occurring more often with venlafaxine.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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