Menopause is another different event happens in a woman life. First when the girls start getting the periods and secondly event is the menopause the time of end to this activity. During this stance various changes happen that sometimes cause troublesome symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes. A rough estimation of the United States women dictates that approximately 32 million women get affected by hot flashes, which could be the most common menopause-related discomfort.
In this context, menopausal hormonal therapy (MHT) is considered the most effective treatment for menopause. At the same time, gabapentin is a non-hormonal treatment to cope with menopause and avoid MHT. Gabapentin in higher doses is as effective as estrogen in reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Why Gabapentin ?
Gabapentin is a prescription drug that belongs to an anti-seizure class of drugs called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Gaba is a neurotransmitter that is liable to slow nerve activity. Its prime is used to relieve seizures, including nerve pain caused by the herpes zoster virus. However, not licensed for treating menopausal symptoms, recent research has revealed its role in easing menopause flushing symptoms.
A Small Detail About Menopause
The permanent end of monthly cycles in women is menopause. It is a natural biological process that occurs between the age of 40 and 50. However, 51 is the average age. During this time of age, ovaries stop producing menstrual controlling hormones estrogen and progesterone, also, their size gets smaller, and fertility declines, thus disappearing at one point due to the complete depletion of eggs.
Symptoms of Menopause
- Missed or uneven periods
- Trouble sleeping
- Needing to pee more often
- Emotional changes
- Vaginal dryness
- Dry eyes, skin, or mouth
- Sore breast
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Muscle and joint aches and pain
- Changes in libido
Menopause And Vasomotor Symptoms
The fluctuating or declining estrogen level in females at about the age of 40 may cause them to experience vasomotor symptoms. These symptoms include night sweats and hot flashes and are shared among 80% of postmenopausal females. The clearly defined episodes of intense heat that initiate at the chest and make their path toward the face and neck, causing facial flushing, are called hot flashes.
It is followed by heart palpitation and sweating and can last seconds to minutes. The onset of flashes can be frequent during the day and the night, causing sleep disruption, fatigue, and irritability in women.
Gabapentin for Hot Flashes
Gabapentin, with active ingredients of gabapentin, is often prescribed as an off-label drug by doctors to reduce hot flashes. Unlike other medications for hot flashes during menopause, the estrogen level stays unaffected by gabapentin.
Instead, it interferes with body temperature regulating part of the hypothalamus in the brain without affecting other hormones. Although the FDA has not yet approved the official use of gabapentin for hot flashes, clinical studies have proved the efficiency of gabapentin in reducing their frequency.
The effectiveness of Gabapentin in Menopause
1- In postmenstrual women struggling with vasomotor symptoms, gabapentin has a role in improving sleep quality.
2- It has a good safety profile, no absolute contraindications (just some rare likelihood of hypersensitivity or increased suicidal thoughts, etc., as explained below), and no drug interaction.
3- It manages to provide a quick onset of action.
4- Gabapentin ER is well-tolerated.
Proof Of Study
One of the fundamental researches conducted by hays and colleagues on human studies by considering the literature review from 1948 to November 2010 describes the role of gabapentin in managing hot flashes for surgically or naturally induced menopause. It reveals that gabapentin significantly decreases hot flashes composite score to somewhat 45% from the baseline. Correspondingly, the authors found that two studies demonstrate gabapentin’s role in improving the hot flash composite score by 71% from baseline.
In addition, the research released by the North American Menopausal Society (NAMS) during the annual meeting indicates that the gabapentin extended-release is instrumental in treating sleep disturbance and hot flashes.
Risks Associated With Gabapentin
Hence proved effective in limiting the number of hot flashes, gabapentin also comes with some risks, and people must know before implying it as medication. Despite being well-tolerated, a few of the adverse effects of gabapentin are
- Swelling in limbs
- Most serious and rare adverse effects include
- Ideation or suicidal thoughts
- Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction
- Weight gain
Although estrogen is one of the most effective ways of fighting against vasomotor symptoms, gabapentin is a non-hormonal option. There is increasing evidence pointing out gabapentin as one of the fundamental and efficient drugs for treating postmenopausal symptoms, whether hot flashes or vasomotor symptoms.
To put it in a nutshell, ensure to ask for your doctor’s recommendation before the start or cessation of the consumption of the drug.