PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the intermediate term efficacy and toxicity of the use of venlafaxine for the control of hot flashes. DESIGN: An open-label continuation phase study following a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial that tested three doses of venlafaxine for the control of hot flashes. SETTING: North Central Cancer Treatment Group institutions. SAMPLE: 102 postmenopausal women. METHODS: Women could titrate venlafaxine to optimum efficacy while recording daily hot flash counts and weekly toxicity information. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Hot flash frequency, hot flash score. FINDINGS: The reduction in hot flashes previously reported in the randomized study phase was maintained during the open-label study. Toxicity did not appear to increase over time. CONCLUSIONS: The data from this study provides evidence that venlafaxine has intermediate term efficacy and good tolerability as a treatment for hot flashes. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses can inform symptomatic women that an effective nonhormonal alternative exists to control their hot flashes.
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