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Fertility Drug Shows Potential Against Hot Flashes
Date:9/16/2009

But study is small and long-term effects from Cetrotide remain unknown, expert says,,,,

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A powerful fertility drug may have another use for older women: stopping hot flashes.

In a letter to the editor in the Sept. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Netherlands report that in three cases, the injectable medication cetrorelix (Cetrotide) helped ease hot flash symptoms.

"It is a very exciting new approach for an extremely common problem with an enormous psychosocial impact that is often ignored or underestimated," said the lead author of the letter, Dr. Hans de Boer, an endocrinologist at Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Not everyone is convinced that this drug is a viable option for treating menopausal symptoms, however.

"This letter describes three cases and has no controls. This drug works on receptors in the brain and no one knows what the long-term consequences might be," said Dr. Lila Nachtigall, director of the Women's Wellness Program at the NYU Langone Medical Center, and a professor at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

Nachtigall said she would never recommend such a drug to her patients when there are other, often more well-studied options available to treat hot flashes.

Cetrorelix blocks the brain receptors for luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), which the letter's authors suggest may be involved in the development of hot flashes. The medication is primarily used by doctors to stop premature ovulation in women taking fertility drugs but it is also being studied for use in women with hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer, as well as in endometriosis treatment.

Although they might not sound serious, hot flashes -- sometimes called hot flushes -- can greatly affect the quality of a woman's life. A
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