Press Release: A new drug decreases hot flushes and may reduce cardiovascular disease

11 May 2017 - 09:15

An article by Skorupskaite1 and colleagues in the current issue of the journal, Neuroendocrinology, reports on a novel effect of an antagonist of the brain hormone, neurokinin B, on post menopausal hot flushes which affect 60-80% of women.

Professor Bob Millar, director of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology at the University of Pretoria and senior research fellow at the University of Cape Town who is a co-author of the study remarks “The main treatment for the debilitating condition of hot flushes is estrogen replacement.  But many women are worried about increasing the risk of breast cancer and stroke, and estrogen can’t be taken by women who have had breast cancer.

So this new treatment is a major breakthrough.” The study found that all eight postmenopausal women with symptomatic flushes reported a reduction in both the frequency and severity of hot flushes whilst taking the neurokinin B antagonist, and importantly, it also reduced the interference of flushes with daily activities. The response to the antagonist was also very rapid, with a significant fall in both night time and day time symptoms after only 2 days of treatment, whereas estrogen generally takes several weeks to become effective.

Previous to this discovery neurokinin B was shown to be increased in the brains of postmenopausal women and hot flushes thought to be linked to this increase in neurokinin B. The current studies showing that neurokinin B antagonist rapidly ameliorates hot flushes is a major breakthrough potentially offering a new treatment.

1 Neurokinin 3 Receptor Antagonism Reveals Roles for Neurokinin B in the Regulation of Gonadotropin Secretion and Hot Flushes in Postmenopausal Women

Skorupskaite K.  · George J.T.  · Veldhuis J.D.  · Millar R.P.  · Anderson R.A.  
Neuroendocrinology (DOI:10.1159/000473893)


Professor Robert (Bob) Millar