Usual 'Hot Flash' Therapies Don't Help Prostate Cancer Patients: Study

THURSDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Treatments that ease hot flashes in menopausal women are not effective against hot flashes in men undergoing hormone therapy for prostate cancer, a new study finds.

Hormone therapy in prostate cancer patients reduces levels of male hormones (androgens) to prevent them from reaching prostate cancer cells and stimulating cancer growth. Hot flashes occur in about 80 percent of prostate cancer patients undergoing hormone therapy.

"Changing hormone levels cause hot flashes in both women and men, so we hoped that using soy supplements and/or an antidepressant would help reduce them in men as it does in many women," study author Mara Vitolins, a professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a center news release.

The study included 120 prostate cancer patients, aged 46 to 91, undergoing hormone therapy. They were randomly assigned to follow one of four daily regimens for 12 weeks: an inactive placebo pill and milk powder; venlafaxine, an antidepressant commonly prescribed to treat hot flashes in women, and milk powder protein; soy protein powder and a placebo pill; or venlafaxine and milk powder.

Neither venlafaxine nor soy protein alone or in combination reduced hot flashes in the men, according to the study published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"Utilizing interventions that appear effective in decreasing hot flashes in women to treat men who have hot flashes has proven to be relatively ineffective," Vitolins said in the news release.

She added that the findings show the need to find treatments specifically developed to ease hot flashes in men.

More information

The Urology Care Foundation has more about hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, news release, Sept. 30, 2013

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