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Climacteric. 2009 Aug;12(4):310-8. doi: 10.1080/13697130902736921.

Non-hormonal treatment of hot flushes in breast cancer survivors: gabapentin vs. vitamin E.

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Department of Gynecological Oncology, University of Turin, Mauriziano 'Umberto I' Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Candiolo (IRCC), Turin, Italy.



To assess the efficacy and the tolerability of gabapentin 900 mg/day compared to vitamin E for the control of vasomotor symptoms in 115 women with breast cancer. The secondary objective was to evaluate the effect of the treatments on the quality of sleep and other aspects of the quality of life.


A hot flush diary was completed daily; sleep quality and other menopausal symptoms were assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) and the SF-36 Health Survey.


The prescribed treatment with gabapentin was never started by 28.3% of the patients and was interrupted by 28% for side-effects (dizziness and somnolence). Among the women allocated to vitamin E, 16.36% never started therapy and 34.78% dropped out because of inefficacy. Hot flush frequency and score decreased by 57.05% and 66.87%, respectively (p < 0.05) in the gabapentin group. The effect of vitamin E was fairly small: hot flush frequency and score were reduced by 10.02% and 7.28%, respectively (p > 0.05). Gabapentin was also particularly effective in improving the quality of sleep (PSQI score reduction: 21.33%, p < 0.05).


Gabapentin appears to be effective for the treatment of hot flushes with a favorable effect on quality of sleep. Vitamin E has only marginal effect on vasomotor symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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