In fact, a study published in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine", showed that treatment with these drugs can be as effective as estrogen therapy, the main measure for preventing menopausal symptoms.
In 2013, the American Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antidepressant serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine to treat hot flashes.
For the work, Joffe’s team recruited 333 women, who were divided into three groups: 97 took half a milligram of low-dose estrogen a day, 96 took 75 milligrams of the antidepressant, and 140 women took a placebo.
All were menopausal or postmenopausal and experienced an average of 8 fever attacks per day. Two months after the study began, women receiving estrogen therapy experienced an average of 3.9 hot flashes per day, women taking antidepressants experienced 4.4 hot flashes per day, and women in the placebo group experienced 5.5 hot flashes per day.
Both the women who took estrogen and the women who took antidepressants said they were satisfied with the results, while the women in the placebo group were less satisfied. Joffe said that although estrogen therapy reduces hot flashes more, the difference "is not that great" compared to low-dose antidepressant treatment.
However, throughout the study, women in the antidepressant therapy group experienced nausea, upset stomach, drowsiness, and some even had higher blood pressure.