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Does Paxil treat hot flashes associated with menopause?

Doctors aren't sure how Paxil (paroxetine) works to treat hot flashes associated with menopause, although research shows that hot flashes decrease by 19% to 60% in women who take it.

Paxil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating depression in adults. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, which work by adjusting the level of the chemical serotonin in the brain. In some research, hot flashes have been linked to an imbalance of serotonin in the brain.

In one study, hot flashes were reduced by 62% in postmenopausal women who took low doses of the long-acting form of Paxil (Paxil CR), and 65% in women who took higher doses. Treating hot flashes is considered an "off label" use of Paxil. Researchers need to do more studies to determine how it works and the best dosages to prescribe. 
Although it is not FDA approved for this indication, some doctors prescribe Paxil to treat hot flashes associated with menopause. Some patients report that hot flashes tend to start again as soon as the Paxil is discontinued. As you progress through menopause, your hot flashes should decrease in intensity and frequency. Talk with your doctor about your options and how long you are expected to need something to help with the hot flashes. If you are concerned about side effects from Paxil, you may be able to limit side effects by using the lowest dose possible that provides relief of your hot flash symptoms.  Also, make sure you tell your doctor that you have stopped the Paxil.  It is important not to make changes to your medication regimen without first telling your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.