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How effective are antidepressants for treating hot flashes?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Several studies show that antidepressants can reduce the number of hot flashes, but they are less effective than hormone therapy. Hormone therapy usually reduces the frequency of hot flashes by up to 3 a day. Antidepressants reduce frequency by about 1 a day. You should notice a difference soon after beginning treatment. A one-week trial of an antidepressant may be enough to tell whether or not the drug will be effective.

For most women, these antidepressants reduce hot flashes only a little. Some women have fewer and less severe hot flashes, while others have no change or an increase in the number of hot flashes. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

The effectiveness of antidepressants for treating hot flashes is variable. Some women experience complete relief, most have minimal to moderate lowering of their symptoms. Antidepressants are among the few medicines besides estrogen type hormones used to treat postmenopausal hot flashes.

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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.