After a lack of treatment options, a new drug may cut the number of hot flashes received by women by almost three-quarters. The breakthrough was made at Imperial College London (ICL) after creating a drug that targets receptors in the brain.
Women’s levels of oestrogen normally fall between 45 and 55 years of age, leading to physical changes such as menopausal flashes and profuse sweating. These flashes can prove to be extremely uncomfortable, keeping women awake and drenching their clothes and bed sheets deep into the early hours.
Although Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has proven to be an effective form of treatment for some, doctors are often reluctant to prescribe it. This is because the intake of regular oestrogen supplements may increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
To alleviate the recurring problem, Imperial College London has created a new form of treatment. Recent research has shown that the drug could help women see a considerable drop of 73% of the number of hot flashes they usually suffer from. The treatment could also reduce the severity of the flashes.
The research carried out at ICL claims that the new drug could be a healthy alternative for women who are apprehensive to taking HRT. The drug, currently known by the code name MLE4901, had a successful trial funded by the National Health Service (NHS). 28 menopausal women, each of who experienced at least seven flashes per day, took part in the trial. The team at ICL couldn’t believe the results.
“If a woman is having more than seven flushes a day and the drug is getting rid of three-quarters of them, that’s pretty life-changing,” said Professor Waljit Dhillo of ICL, who lead the trial. “For day to day living and work, that’s a significant impact on quality of life. If we can reduce flushing by 73 per cent it’s a game-changer for those patients.”
“These are exciting findings which could be practice-changing. The plan now is to find out if the NK3R blocker, MLE4901, can be as safe and effective over a long term period in a larger group of patients.”