J K Prague
Climacteric. 2020 Nov 2;1-7.doi: 10.1080/13697137.2020.1834530. Online ahead of print.
Vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes, flashes, night sweats) occur in the majority of menopausal women, and are reported as being of the highest symptom priority as they often persist over many years and can be highly disruptive. Hormone therapy is the most effective available treatment but is not without risk if taken long term, and is sometimes contraindicated; for example, in women with a personal or family history of breast cancer, which is the most common female cancer worldwide. Other treatment alternatives are not as efficacious, can cause side effects, and/or are not widely available. A new, effective, targeted treatment could therefore benefit millions of women worldwide. This became possible to investigate after accumulated evidence from both animal and human models implicated heightened signaling of a hypothalamic neuropeptide together with its receptor (neurokinin B/NK3R) in the etiology of sex-steroid-deficient vasomotor symptoms. Four clinical trials of three chemically distinct oral NK3R antagonists for the treatment of menopausal flushes have since completed and published, which consistently demonstrate efficacy and tolerability of these agents. These suggest great promise to change practice in the future if ongoing further larger-scale studies of longer duration confirm the same; as, estrogen exposure will no longer be required to effectively and safely treat vasomotor symptoms.