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

Ramya Ramaswami, Marcos Daniel Villarreal, Dina Marie Pitta, Janet Carpenter, Justin Stebbing, Bindu Kalesan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


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 I2 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 (I2 = 98.7 %, P 

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Breast cancer
  • Hot flash
  • Meta-analysis
  • Review
  • Symptoms
  • Venlafaxine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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