A new treatment for hot flushes has received approval in the UK. The non-hormonal drug fezolinetant, marketed by Astellas under the name Veoza, alleviates vasomotor symptoms (VMS) – also known as hot flushes and night sweats – that many women suffer from during menopause. It has been approved this week by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and it is hoped the drug will be prescribed by the NHS as of next year. Once the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approves its use, patients will take a 45mg dose of the pill daily. Marci English, Vice President of Astellas UK, said, ‘We are proud to have developed an innovative treatment option for a condition that has lacked scientific advancement for too long.’
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During menopause, a woman’s levels of oestrogen fluctuate, creating an imbalanced level of proteins in the brain’s temperature control centre. These additional proteins are what cause hot flushes. Veoza blocks the body from binding the proteins in the control centre, reducing the number and intensity of hot flushes.
‘Fezolinetant’s novel mechanism of action targets the root cause of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause,’ said Mr. English, ‘Hot flushes and night sweats are common symptoms of menopause and can have a disruptive impact on sleep, daily activities, and overall quality of life.’
According to a Harvard study, 80% of women going through menopause suffer from VMS. Menopause-related hot flushes tend to last around six to 24 months. However, for many women, including the 40% of postmenopausal women in the UK suffering from moderate to severe VMS, this can last much longer.
Unlike hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which alleviates a variety of menopausal symptoms, Veoza solely treats hot flushes. However, Founder Director of Menopause Matters, Diane Danzebrink explained that this new drug gives women an alternative treatment when consulting a doctor about menopause. She said, ‘The decision is particularly important for those who’ve felt overlooked in the past in terms of treatment options, or those who prefer not to use HRT.’