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UK scientists have developed a new drug that has shown promise in dramatically reducing the incidence of hot flushes in menopausal women.
Doctors from Imperial College London have been testing a drug known as MLE4901 in 80 milligram daily dosages on treating symptoms associated with the menopause, comparing its effects to that of a placebo over a period of four weeks.
Participants then swapped places, spending the following four weeks taking the placebo if they had been taking MLE4901 to begin with and vice versa. This meant that the women in the study essentially acted as their own controls, allowing scientists to clearly see the effects of the new menopause drug.
It was found that when taking MLE4901, women suffered from a significantly reduced number of hot flushes, meaning menopausal symptoms interfered much less with their daily lives.
What's more, the drug had a profound effect on their night-time symptoms, with participants reporting that they suffered from 82 per cent fewer hot flushes at night. As a result, they were able to get more sleep, leading them to feel healthier overall, while interruptions to their concentration decreased by 77 per cent.
MLE4901 is a compound drug that works by blocking the actions of the brain chemical neurokinin B (NKB). It is believed that higher levels of this compound increase the likelihood of hot flushes, so having a drug that targets this specifically should help to at least halt, if not stop, them from occurring.
Lead author of the study Dr Julia Prague commented: "As NKB has many targets of action within the brain, the potential for this drug class to really improve many of the symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, weight gain and poor concentration is huge.
"To see the lives of our participants change so dramatically and so quickly was so exciting and suggests great promise for the future of this new type of treatment."
Written by James Puckle
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