Venlafaxine in management of hot flashes in women with breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Venlafaxine in management of hot flashes in women with breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015 Jun 12;

Authors: Ramaswami R, Villarreal MD, Pitta DM, Carpenter JS, Stebbing J, Kalesan B

Abstract
Toxicity due to treatment causes a negative impact on quality of life in breast cancer survivors. Hot flash symptoms, described as intense sensations of heat, sweating and flushing occur in more than 50 % of breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen. We hypothesized that venlafaxine, a selective-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor drug, was effective for reducing patient-reported hot flash scores among women treated for breast cancer compared to other non-hormonal treatments. We searched Medline, Scopus, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from inception till May 2015 for venlafaxine (75 mg once daily or greater) with non-hormonal comparators for the treatment of hot flashes in female breast cancer patients. The primary outcome was hot flash score (derived from patient-reported hot flash severity and frequency) in randomized controlled trials. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated for each study due to variation in the outcome measures. Heterogeneity was determined using I (2) statistics, and publication bias was assessed using a contour funnel plot and Egger’s tests. Pooled analyses demonstrated that venlafaxine significantly reduced hot flash scores compared to the trial comparators (overall SMD 2.06; 95 % confidence interval (CI) [0.40, 3.72]). There was significant heterogeneity among these studies (I (2) = 98.7 %, P < 0.001). Asymmetry in the contour funnel plot suggests the presence of publication bias and a trend towards small study effects (Egger’s test, P = 0.096). Venlafaxine is efficacious in managing hot flashes among women with breast cancer. This review highlights methodological issues that arise from eligible trials and recommends a collaborative approach in survivorship studies.

PMID: 26067931 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]