Cancer patients pick antidepressant for hot flashes

Nov 8, 2010 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Reuters

Breast cancer survivors who struggle with hot flashes may find respite in an antidepressant, according to a new study that suggests the medication should be the go-to drug when the overheating is severe.

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Jackie

Hiawatha, KS

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#1
Dec 7, 2010
 

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I am taking Zoloft for depression. My doctor recently put me on a low dose of Effexor for hot flashes. If I miss one dose, after taking this drug for only 3 months, the brain zaps start. I have also been reading of the horrors of Effexor withdrawal. I would suggest to anyone to stay away from Effexor!!!!
btdt

Ajax, Canada

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#2
Dec 7, 2010
 
The researchers also point out that Effexor could impair the effectiveness of tamoxifen in some patients, because it can block the body's metabolism of the drug.
this is not new by any means they have known for years
tamoxifen blocked by ssri
btdt

Ajax, Canada

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#3
Dec 7, 2010
 
sorry forgot the link a simple search is easy to do but we trust doctors and don't look
http://www.google.ca/search...
SasHP

AOL

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#4
Dec 7, 2010
 
Ridiculous. The more I hear about what the magic drug does the more angry I get. I am sick of hearing the commercials and hearing this. I feel sorry for the large majority of people who are put on effexor for "hot flashes, headaches, etc." Stick your head in a freezer instead! Don't opt for a drug that can potentially ruin your life and leave your with horrid withdraws because the doctor says its a new treatment for something. Doctors want money. Antidepresants are expensive and give them money. Your life suffers and then does the doctor care? No sorry, he is in Hawaii celebrating his 100th prescription of Effexor on some unsuspecting victim, ehem, I mean patient.
hopeless

France

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#5
Dec 23, 2010
 
there is a pill for everything today.
Gail Perry

United States

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#6
Dec 24, 2010
 
Lots of people tolerate Effexor well. However, some antidepressants can interfere with some cancer treatments. In addition, the hot flashes I had from AI's were so terrible that reducing them by 50% wouldn't have been worth any drug to me.

Many people gain weight (significant amounts) on anti-depressants.

For those dealing with hot flashes, I have two suggestions:

1) if you can do it, and can sleep well on it, try a waterbed with temperature controls. You can dial down your side of the bed. It was a lifesaver for me when I went through menopause.

2) put "cooling scarves" into Google. You can buy them made (most are pretty ugly) or get the crystals and make them yourself. I live in Florida and they saved me. I keep them iced down in a cooler. I put one on my head and one on my neck and changed hourly. They really, really helped.
btdt

Ajax, Canada

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#7
Dec 26, 2010
 
SasHP wrote:
Ridiculous. The more I hear about what the magic drug does the more angry I get. I am sick of hearing the commercials and hearing this. I feel sorry for the large majority of people who are put on effexor for "hot flashes, headaches, etc." Stick your head in a freezer instead! Don't opt for a drug that can potentially ruin your life and leave your with horrid withdraws because the doctor says its a new treatment for something. Doctors want money. Antidepresants are expensive and give them money. Your life suffers and then does the doctor care? No sorry, he is in Hawaii celebrating his 100th prescription of Effexor on some unsuspecting victim, ehem, I mean patient.
yep
mcsrider

United States

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#8
Dec 28, 2010
 
My cancer doctor put me on Effexor and said it was the only one that would work with Taxoxifen.
I would have probably died of the hot flash if it were not for Effexor. The side effects are irrelevant to me since my alternative is to die with Breast Cancer.
When you are faced with the big "C", life becomes less complicated. You live, love and laugh for today because no one is promised a tomorrow. This sounds tacky but it is something that I believe.
mcsrider

United States

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#9
Dec 28, 2010
 
Wrong. Have you ever had Breast Cancer?
Gail Perry

Ocala, FL

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#10
Dec 28, 2010
 
Who's "wrong?" No one here is "right" or "wrong." What is right for one person is wrong for another.
btdt

Scarborough, Canada

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#11
Aug 7, 2011
 
mcsrider wrote:
My cancer doctor put me on Effexor and said it was the only one that would work with Taxoxifen.
I would have probably died of the hot flash if it were not for Effexor. The side effects are irrelevant to me since my alternative is to die with Breast Cancer.
When you are faced with the big "C", life becomes less complicated. You live, love and laugh for today because no one is promised a tomorrow. This sounds tacky but it is something that I believe.

The researchers also point out that Effexor could impair the effectiveness of tamoxifen in some patients, because it can block the body's metabolism of the drug.
this is not new by any means they have known for years
tamoxifen blocked by ssri
a simple search is easy to do but we trust doctors and don't look.....
the link
http://www.google.ca/search ...

I would have probably died of the hot flash if it were not for Effexor. The side effects are irrelevant to me since my alternative is to die with Breast Cancer.

You cannot die of hot flashes if the effexor is stopping the cancer drug from working that is a bad thing... read the link. Effexor is not saving your life.
I realize you are sick but it is important to be as informed as you can. Just my opinion of course it is your life.
Gail Perry

Saint Petersburg, FL

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#12
Aug 8, 2011
 
You can die of the hot flashes and other side effects if they are so severe that you cannot tolerate the AI's or Tamoxifen.

That was my situation. The anti-cancer drugs affected me so severely and miserably that I really had to stop taking them. I'm coming up on my five-year anniversary, where the risk of recurrence doesn't go away completely but does plummet, so it looks like I've dodged that bullet, but ...

fully 50% of women stop taking those anti-cancer drugs while fully informed of the risk they're taking.

We need a better way. I don't know what it is, but 50% of women at risk stop taking them. I was one of those 50%.

The thing for me was that those drugs couldn't GUARANTEE a real cure. It only increased the odds. So I could have remained utterly miserable for my short, remaining life, and I decided that since that was the case, I was going to enjoy life. For me, that simply wasn't possible either on AI's or Tamoxifen.

I do want to say that MD's don't do the simple searches we do. They have access to far better information. They have the original research, and the training to read that research, which is a highly specialized kind of writing. It's fine to ask doctors what to do, but it may be that Tamoxifen with Effexor is better than dropping Tamoxifen.

Gotta ask the doctor specifics. Do your own research, sure -- but then ask your doctor about what you found.
btdt

Scarborough, Canada

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#13
Aug 8, 2011
 
Gail Perry wrote:
You can die of the hot flashes and other side effects if they are so severe that you cannot tolerate the AI's or Tamoxifen.
That was my situation. The anti-cancer drugs affected me so severely and miserably that I really had to stop taking them. I'm coming up on my five-year anniversary, where the risk of recurrence doesn't go away completely but does plummet, so it looks like I've dodged that bullet, but ...
fully 50% of women stop taking those anti-cancer drugs while fully informed of the risk they're taking.
We need a better way. I don't know what it is, but 50% of women at risk stop taking them. I was one of those 50%.
The thing for me was that those drugs couldn't GUARANTEE a real cure. It only increased the odds. So I could have remained utterly miserable for my short, remaining life, and I decided that since that was the case, I was going to enjoy life. For me, that simply wasn't possible either on AI's or Tamoxifen.
I do want to say that MD's don't do the simple searches we do. They have access to far better information. They have the original research, and the training to read that research, which is a highly specialized kind of writing. It's fine to ask doctors what to do, but it may be that Tamoxifen with Effexor is better than dropping Tamoxifen.
Gotta ask the doctor specifics. Do your own research, sure -- but then ask your doctor about what you found.
You would think the information doctors have access to would be better more detailed and more accurate but this simply has not always be the case. Repeatedly it is being proved the information given to doctors by the drug companies are not accurate. Sorry to be the one to tell you but it is true.
There are studies that show Effexor stops the cancer stalling effects of Tamoxifen... what sense would it make to take a drug that treats the side effects of the cancer fighting drug by stopping it from working.. would you not be as well off to take neither?
Here is a simple search on bogus drug studies:
http://www.google.ca/search...
any one can find it. I am not privileged I have just read a LOT about this subject since my life has stopped due to E withdrawal... plenty of books and sites online.
Congratulations on being cancer free 5 years now you can once again qualify for life insurance I know as my sister has also lived thru this.
Research your doctors research if you are well enough or get a loved one to help you that is my suggestion.
Gail Perry

Saint Petersburg, FL

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#14
Aug 9, 2011
 
"You would think the information doctors have access to would be better more detailed and more accurate but this simply has not always be the case. Repeatedly it is being proved the information given to doctors by the drug companies are not accurate."

You're talking apples and oranges here.

The "information given by drug companies" may not be accurate.

The good research IS accurate, and doctors know the difference. There IS good research out there about the effects of Effexor on Tamoxifen, and patients NEED to talk to the doctor about the DEGREE of that effect. It isn't 100%, and it may be worth it to the patient to take both. You and I aren't MD's or DO's, and we haven't evaluated this woman, and we CANNOT say what is right for her.

As I said, patients need to really ask hard questions of their doctors: who did the research? Was it unbiased -- did the researchers get funding from the manufacturer? Does the Effexor cancel the positive effects of the Tamoxifen completely? If not, how much of an effect does it have?

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF EFFEXOR?

Don't assume that all research is biased, and don't assume that you can find all the answers for yourself online. However, you can think of some important questions to ask by searching online.

Online research isn't real "research." It's a search for information, but it's imperfect, incomplete, and often what you find online is itself very biased as well. We have to be advocates for ourselves, but we'd be foolish to assume that everything we find online is accurate.

If your doctor gets condescending when you start asking these questions, change doctors. I did, and it was the best single thing I've ever done for myself. I am so glad I didn't have to go through all of this with the first oncologist I went to.
btdt

Scarborough, Canada

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#15
Aug 10, 2011
 
Gail Perry wrote:
"You would think the information doctors have access to would be better more detailed and more accurate but this simply has not always be the case. Repeatedly it is being proved the information given to doctors by the drug companies are not accurate."
You're talking apples and oranges here.
The "information given by drug companies" may not be accurate.
The good research IS accurate, and doctors know the difference. There IS good research out there about the effects of Effexor on Tamoxifen, and patients NEED to talk to the doctor about the DEGREE of that effect. It isn't 100%, and it may be worth it to the patient to take both. You and I aren't MD's or DO's, and we haven't evaluated this woman, and we CANNOT say what is right for her.
As I said, patients need to really ask hard questions of their doctors: who did the research? Was it unbiased -- did the researchers get funding from the manufacturer? Does the Effexor cancel the positive effects of the Tamoxifen completely? If not, how much of an effect does it have?
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF EFFEXOR?
Don't assume that all research is biased, and don't assume that you can find all the answers for yourself online. However, you can think of some important questions to ask by searching online.
Online research isn't real "research." It's a search for information, but it's imperfect, incomplete, and often what you find online is itself very biased as well. We have to be advocates for ourselves, but we'd be foolish to assume that everything we find online is accurate.
If your doctor gets condescending when you start asking these questions, change doctors. I did, and it was the best single thing I've ever done for myself. I am so glad I didn't have to go through all of this with the first oncologist I went to.
"The good research IS accurate, and doctors know the difference."
No they DON'T!
And No it is not ALL accurate how do they tell the good research from the bad. I have done a ton of reading on this issue much has been written for good reason it is an important subject.

"As I said, patients need to really ask hard questions of their doctors: who did the research? Was it unbiased -- did the researchers get funding from the manufacturer? Does the Effexor cancel the positive effects of the Tamoxifen completely? If not, how much of an effect does it have?
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF EFFEXOR?

Should I assume you have asked all these questions and have all the answers to them? If so what are the answers you heard? Time will tell if they are correct.

I don't assume I have all the answers for anyone I do put forth the skeptic attitude as I have been burned big time. I do not think I will forever escape having to make hard choices as I know I am not invisible but refuse new meds for anything less than life threatening situation. If I had to face that I would still do the research and it is my life so I would want people to tell me what they know. At this point in time given what I have been thru already I will call the shots on my own health care not some doctor who is passing off what he read in an add in a medical journal bought in paid for by pharma as hard core science.

The makers of E have been warned more than once about the adds they place in those journals as they are misleading. Many doctors perhaps the majority do not read the long versions of the drug labels and get their info from these adds. Who can blame then when they are 30+ pages of side effects listed like there are for E... they are not machines...nobody could recall all that info for
hundreds of drugs. There may be some doctors that keep up but I doubt many do and doubt many keep abreast all the updates when a new bit of information is added to the label if you check the FDA website you will see 20+ changes to the label of E it changes all the time to cover pharmas ass can't sue for anything listed on the site as a side effect as hey you have been warned.
Gail Perry

Saint Petersburg, FL

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#16
Aug 10, 2011
 
I said that GOOD research is accurate. Biased research paid for by the manufacturer is BY DEFINITION -- NOT good research.

How do they know? They've had a rigorous science education, which included what good and bad research design is. I have also had that training in my field.

"If I had to face that I would still do the research and it is my life so I would want people to tell me what they know."

YOU BETCHA. My first oncologist glossed over all the many possible side effects of chemo because she believed it was right for me and manipulated what I knew (or tried to) so I would make that choice. But I got a second opinion.

Then I changed oncologists, who was great about the chemo but then glossed over the possible side effects of the AI's because he wanted me to take it so badly.

I do best told the truth. I would have been sooooo much better off if I KNEW "Oh that could be from the Femara. Better call the doctor." Instead I had to figure it out for myself. I finally confronted him, politely, about this -- because overall he really was a terrific doctor. I don't know if he's being more honest with his new patients now but I hope he is. AI's can mess with your brain and I didn't like not being told that. I'm still dealing with part of that now -- the AI's triggered stubborn insomnia that I'd simply never had before. Unfortunately when I'm short on sleep I get migraines, so there was a real negative ripple effect for me.

I think it's VERY important for patients to remain skeptical, but it's ALSO very important to find a doctor who will take the time to clarify all these issues for you.
btdt

Scarborough, Canada

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#17
Aug 12, 2011
 
Gail Perry wrote:
I said that GOOD research is accurate. Biased research paid for by the manufacturer is BY DEFINITION -- NOT good research.
How do they know? They've had a rigorous science education, which included what good and bad research design is. I have also had that training in my field.
"If I had to face that I would still do the research and it is my life so I would want people to tell me what they know."
YOU BETCHA. My first oncologist glossed over all the many possible side effects of chemo because she believed it was right for me and manipulated what I knew (or tried to) so I would make that choice. But I got a second opinion.
Then I changed oncologists, who was great about the chemo but then glossed over the possible side effects of the AI's because he wanted me to take it so badly.
I do best told the truth. I would have been sooooo much better off if I KNEW "Oh that could be from the Femara. Better call the doctor." Instead I had to figure it out for myself. I finally confronted him, politely, about this -- because overall he really was a terrific doctor. I don't know if he's being more honest with his new patients now but I hope he is. AI's can mess with your brain and I didn't like not being told that. I'm still dealing with part of that now -- the AI's triggered stubborn insomnia that I'd simply never had before. Unfortunately when I'm short on sleep I get migraines, so there was a real negative ripple effect for me.
I think it's VERY important for patients to remain skeptical, but it's ALSO very important to find a doctor who will take the time to clarify all these issues for you.
Are you off the Effexor how did you quit taking it if you are off it? Effexor withdrawal can cause insomnia and brain fog. I have watched people I love with chemo brain it seems a lot like brain fog ect. I had in cold turkey withdrawal from E.
Just so you know E is has some rather amazingly difficult long term withdrawal symptoms insomina is one. Very slow taper is supposed to help with that so if you have not quit taking it yet do it very slowly check the tapering thread.
Gail Perry

Saint Petersburg, FL

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#18
Aug 13, 2011
 
Yes, I am aware that you cannot stop Effexor cold turkey. Doctors and pharmacists tell you that.

However, I never took it. Tamoxifen, by the way, made me depressed.

When I took Femara, there was proof that antidepressants could interfere with it, but no solid proof yet that any of them could help with the side effects.

If it were TODAY, I would GRILL my doctor on the trade-off between Effexor and the AI (maybe they only researched Tamoxifen, I don't know), because it seems possible that it might have helped a lot with my side effects, the worst of which were insomnia (still present two years after I stopped taking Femara) and horrendous panic attacks, which stopped forever within five days of stopping the Femara.

I've done my homework on this topic, and I have the training to know what is and is not good research. I think most patients are walking a minefield here, because many doctors don't give full disclosure about side effects if they really want you to have the treatment or drug, and most patients don't have that training in research.
btdt

Scarborough, Canada

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#19
Aug 13, 2011
 
Gail Perry wrote:
Yes, I am aware that you cannot stop Effexor cold turkey. Doctors and pharmacists tell you that.
However, I never took it. Tamoxifen, by the way, made me depressed.
When I took Femara, there was proof that antidepressants could interfere with it, but no solid proof yet that any of them could help with the side effects.
If it were TODAY, I would GRILL my doctor on the trade-off between Effexor and the AI (maybe they only researched Tamoxifen, I don't know), because it seems possible that it might have helped a lot with my side effects, the worst of which were insomnia (still present two years after I stopped taking Femara) and horrendous panic attacks, which stopped forever within five days of stopping the Femara.
I've done my homework on this topic, and I have the training to know what is and is not good research. I think most patients are walking a minefield here, because many doctors don't give full disclosure about side effects if they really want you to have the treatment or drug, and most patients don't have that training in research.
Doctors do say to taper of E the problem is the taper they suggest is way to fast and cause severe withdrawal symptoms so bad they can completely through you life off track for a couple of years at least. A decent taper from 150mg of E should take over a year just docs say you can get off that amount in a couple months it just is not true.
So what is it about Femara what have you found? Maybe you should post what you have found here so other will know what to expect. There is a site called ask a patient here
http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp...
which may also be a good place to add your knowledge.
If you are looking to understand brain chemistry check this site I have not looked at it seriously as I just found it but it looks hopeful
http://www.beatcfsandfms.org/html/BrainChem.h...

The truly sad things is the time we need to learn about these drugs is exactly when we are disabled by the drug so we cannot think well enough to do any decent research and tend to gloss over the details or I did because I was too messed up to understand be the time I knew I was in big trouble.
I am going to take a look at this drug it obviously stopped estrogen and in doing so cause these side effects but what else does it do and how does it accomplish it... if you can answer these questions for me please do. If not I will post back if and when I get an understanding about it.
I wish you well.
B
btdt

Scarborough, Canada

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#20
Aug 13, 2011
 
another link you likely already know about
http://csn.cancer.org/node/188028

While I am only one person and not a study I can tell you this about hormones and E. After 7 years on E and the removal of one ovary in the 6th year of use due to ovarian cysts suspected of causing excessive period (more like constant)[Removing the ovary did not stop the bleeding I was then put on hemophiliac drugs to control it]
in the seventh year after all this my hormones while still on E fluctuated constantly every time they were checked in a sixth month period these are the results:
menopausal
pre menopausal
post menopausal
pregnant
pre pubesent
and yep you guess it normal.
I still have not yet found the reason but it has not been too high on my list as I have been trying to get some sort of a life while dealing with protracted cold turkey withdrawal.

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