Why I don’t see a reason to cheer.
Whenever I see a new treatment for Women’s Health, especially the unsexy phases of a woman’s life, like menopause, I want to cheer. But not this time. When I read about the new non-hormonal treatment for menopausal hot flashes, called Brisdelle, it just made me hot.
Because it’s not a new treatment at all. In fact, the active ingredient in this “new” drug is, paroxetine. Paroxetine, best known in the U.S. as Paxil, has been around since 1992. It is a drug I’ve prescribed many times for depression, anxiety, especially panic, and even premature ejaculation in men. While there are some problems with side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and blurred vision to name a few, these are not uncommon in the whole class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, etc.
What does present a problem with this new non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes in menopause, at least in my mind is:
- Brisdelle sounds like a new drug–which it really is not. Look at the cover, under “Brisdelle” you will see “paroxetine”
- Buying generic paroxetine and taking it at a lower dose (7.5 mg) should be the equivalent.
- Paroxetine withdrawal tends to be harder for many patients, see this CNN Psychiatrist’s comments about the drug
- SSRI’s have been associated with loss of bone mineral density. Read this Harvard Mental Health Letter for more info.
- Paroxetine tends to decrease sex drive, and time to orgasm. See this Mayo Clinic report on causes of low sex drive in women and you will find that Paxil is first on the list of possible offending medications.
So, I hope you see why I felt a hot flash, not menopausal, but just from anger about this so-called new drug for hot flashes. If you have a different opinion, or would like to share your reactions to Brisdelle, Paroxetine or Paxil, I’d love to hear it. They say that misery loves company. I’m not sure what frustration loves.