Difference Between Paroxetine for Hot Flashes vs. Depression

3 minute read

By: Alloy Staff|Last updated: November 7, 2022

Women potentially face numerous symptoms as they approach menopause. Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms that perimenopausal and menopausal women experience. 

The most effective and widely used treatment for menopausal hot flashes is hormonal replacement therapy. However, for women with certain contraindications, taking estrogen is not recommended.

If your hot flashes symptoms are interfering with your daily life or interrupting your sleep (night sweats), but taking estrogen is not an option for you, you will want to read this post.

It turns out that small doses of certain antidepressants can also reduce the severity of hot flashes.

SSRIs, such as paroxetine, are FDA-approved as alternatives to hormone therapy. Though they are not as effective at treating hot flashes as taking estrogen, these antidepressants have reduced the intensity and duration of hot flashes symptoms in 50% of women taking them.

Read on to learn more about how this antidepressant can relieve your hot flashes—especially if taking estrogen is not an option for you. 

If you want to chat directly with a menopause-trained doctor, fill out our brief, online consultation form.

What is Paroxetine? 

Paroxetine is most commonly used as an antidepressant. Paroxetine belongs to a family of drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and is used to treat numerous other conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). 

Paroxetine has shown to be an effective, non-hormonal treatment for women that suffer from hot flashes and night sweats. 

Paroxetine for Depression

Paroxetine (starting at a dose of 25mg) is widely used to treat depressive and anxiety disorders. This antidepressant works by elevating serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a crucial neurotransmitter that helps manage mood, sleep, digestion, memory, reward, and overall biological functioning. 

Paroxetine blocks the reabsorption of serotonin by keeping it circulating in the synaptic cleft, or the spaces between your brain cells. By blocking reabsorption, more serotonin is available for your brain cells to use, improving neuronal communication.

Paroxetine for Hot Flashes

More than 70% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. Hot flashes manifest as frequent, sudden onset of red flushing, warmth, and sweating around the face and neck. 

Hormonal replacement therapy is recommended as the first-line therapy to treat menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes. However, this type of therapy is not recommended for a small fraction of women with certain contra-indications, and for those women, a dose of 10mg of paroxetine can be effective in eliminating hot flashes.

How Does Paroxetine Help with Hot Flashes?

Paroxetine helps reduce vasomotor symptoms (the official term for hot flashes, hot flushes, and night sweats). When taken as prescribed, paroxetine decreases overall core body temperature by vasodilation, or by reducing blood flow in blood vessels. 

SSRIs are shown to vasodilate and decrease blood flow to the skin, which lowers flushing.

Usually, the thermoregulatory zone, a temperature range the body processes, is narrowed during this phase of a woman's life. SSRIs help reduce temperature ranges through central vasodilation, therefore decreasing hot flashes. 

Paroxetine reduces hot flashes and night sweats in 50% of women, helping improve the quality of sleep and staying comfortable. Though not as effective as hormone replacement therapy, Paroxetine is a viable, proven, and FDA-approved option for women who cannot take estrogen.

The good news too is that the clinical response is much more rapid (days) than the typical response to SSRIs for depression (weeks).

Dosage 

Paroxetine is usually started on a low-dose 10 mg pill, taken daily by mouth. 

How to Find Out if Paroxetine is Right for Me?

If you cannot take estrogen due to pre-existing medical conditions and are looking for an alternative treatment for your hot flashes, Paroxetine is a clinically proven alternative option that reduces hot flashes, flushes, and night sweats in 50% of women. 

One note of importance for women on Tamoxifen, you should not take paroxetine, as it interferes with the metabolism of Tamoxifen. There are other SSRIs that women on Tamoxifen can take that may help with hot flash reduction.

How to Get Paroxetine for Hot Flashes from Alloy

The menopause-trained doctors at Alloy are specialists when it comes to crafting personalized menopausal solutions. Want to find relief from your hot flashes? Fill out our brief online consultation form and chat with a menopause-trained doctor at Alloy today.

They will review your specific medical needs and write you a prescription that gets delivered to your door for free.

Alloy offers far more than alternative treatments for hot flashes. We offer safe, gentle, plant-based bioidentical hormones to relieve menopause symptoms as well as other menopause and perimonopause symptom solutions. 

Discover your personalized relief plan by filling out our brief, online consultation form.

Sources: 

My Alloy - Paroxetine Treatment for Hot Flashes & Night Sweats  

https://www.myalloy.com, https://www.myalloy.com/solutions/paroxetine   

Accessed September 13. 2022. 

National Library of Medicine - Low-Dose Paroxetine (7.5) Improve Sleep in Women

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274337/ 

Accessed September 13. 2022. 

National Library of Medicine - Critical Appraisal of Paroxetine for Treatment of Vasomotor Symptoms 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4476484/#:~:text=Paroxetine%20(hydrochloride%20and%20mesylate)%20has,reductions%20in%20hot%20flash%20severity

Accessed September 13. 2022.

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