Well balanced piece about whether antidepressants are really effective in treating hot flashes in menopausal women.
This article presents the results of several studies examining whether antidepressants are effective in reducing hot flashes in menopausal women. The article avoids overstating the results of these studies and provides information from skeptics that many of these results could be the result of the placebo effect and have nothing to do with treatment.
For some women hot flashes can impede on quality of life during menopause. Since many doctors and women are leery about using hormone replacement therapy to alleviate hot flashes, other drugs are being investigated.
The article does discuss how much Lexapro – the antidepressant mentioned in the article – costs.
Adequate quantitative description of the extent and timing of hot flash reduction for the treatment group. Describing the response in placebo group as “occurring more slowly and to a lesser degree” provides an adequate sense of the difference. And story provided quantitative comparison for the outcome of insomnia between placebo and treatment groups.
The article did discuss some of the side effects of antidepressants.
The article did a good job of putting the results of the study into perspective with quotes from scientists who were skeptical of the findings.
The article did not commit disease mongering of hot flashes.
The article does appear to use independent sources including interviewing Dr Robert Freedman, a psychiatrist who was skeptical of the true benefits of using antidepressants to treat hot flashes.
The article mentions at the very end other remedies for treating hot flashes besides prescription drugs.
The article made it clear that the use of antidepressants to treat hot flashes was off-label use of the drug. Even though the article presented results from studies, it is not clear how widespread is the off-label use of antidepressants to treat hot flashes.
The article did state that antidepressants are not FDA approved to be used to treat hot flashes and that doctors prescribing this are doing so off-label.
The article does not appear to rely solely on a press release.
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