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"Antidepressant appears to ease hot flashes"


Source: CTV.CA

Published: 20 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1½ stars)

Keywords: lexapro hot flashes antidepressant hormone replacement therapy hrt ssri

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The antidepressant Lexapro appears to significantly cut the number and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women, researchers say, offering a potential new way to treat the symptom...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This was a very poor report of the use of an antidepressant in treating hot flashes- a common symptom of menopause. The article discusses the randomized trial of escitalopram (Lexapro) which showed a 12% relative difference between the hot flashes experienced by women in the drug and placebo groups. In addition to solely presenting the relative reduction numbers, the article missed a few key points that leave the reader woefully in the dark. There is no mention of treatment availability in Canada, treatment cost and/or alternative treatments options (although they do mention the other antidepressants).

However, the most egregious error of this report is the failure to mention the side effects or potential serious adverse effects associated with antidepressants (e.g. withdrawal symptoms, gastrointestinal upset etc.). Having a spokesperson from outside the research, who could comment critically on these findings and the overall premise of treating menopausal women with antidepressants, would have generated a more balanced story rather than a promotional piece for the drug in question.

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