Isoflavones reduces hot flashes more than SSRIs
Hot flashes have been reported to occur in as much as 75% of Western menopausal women.
Nonhormonal drugs are preferred by a majority of women because of the concerns over the side effects of hormone therapy. Several nonhormonal drugs have been reported to relieve menopausal hot flashes, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin
norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), gabapentin and clonidine. However, only paroxetine, a type of SSRIs, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating menopausal hot flashes.
With this background in mind Chinese researchers conducted a literature search so that the efficacy of nonhormonal drugs for alleviating hot flashes could be compared. This search also included studies evaluating the efficacy of soy isoflavones. Thirty-nine studies were included in the analysis. The results showed that after deducting placebo effects, the maximum reduction in the frequency of hot flashes for SSRIs/SNRIs, gabapentin, clonidine, and soy isoflavones was 13.9%, 14.8%, 18.5%, and 25.0 %, respectively. Thus, isoflavones were shown to be more effective than any of the other treatments.
Furthermore, the potency of isoflavones was actually underestimated because among the isoflavone studies were those that intervened with supplements that were low in genistein, the primary isoflavone in soybeans. Previous research has shown that supplements that reflect the isoflavone profile of the whole bean are more than twice as efficacious as low-genistein supplements.
Li, L., Xu, L., Wu, J., Dong, L., Zhao, S., and Zheng, Q. Comparative efficacy of nonhormonal drugs on menopausal hot flashes. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2016, 72, 1051-8.