Are the Government Planning to Give a Schizophrenia Treatment Drug to Menopausal Women?
A new drug is in the works that is reported to halve the number of hot flushes in menopausal women.
The drug, MLE4901, was previously developed as a treatment drug for schizophrenia, but now researchers at the Imperial College of London are using the drug in an attempt to combat menopausal symptoms, as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
How Does This New Drug Work?
This drug is reported to block the chemical messengers within the brain that are associated with hot flushes, and effects are said to begin as soon as women begin taking it.
Is It Safe?
A randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover trial was completed whilst the drug was in early stages of development.
37 women were recruited to test the quality of the drug, however 9 later dropped out. The women were split into two groups; women taking the drug and women taking the placebo.
After 4 weeks of using the drug, treatment was halted for 2 weeks, and then another 4-week period commenced. In this period, women who has previously taken the drug were given the placebo, and vice versa.
The results were reported as percentage change from baseline for both the placebo and MLE4901. However, the actual number of hot flushes were not reported.
On day 3 of treatment, women taking the new drug reported a 75% reduction in numbers of hot flushes during the daytime, compared to a 25% reduction for women taking a placebo.
However, the difference in the numbers of hot flushes between MLE4901 and placebo remained fairly constant throughout the 4-week treatment period. Difficulty sleeping was also not significantly different from placebo on day 3.
Due to the small size of the study, there was no information produced on the drug’s side effects, other than it was “well tolerated”. Studies, like this, of such small nature are unable to adequately assess the drug side effects.
So, Will Menopausal Women Be Able to Get This New Drug Soon?
A new way to reduce common menopausal symptoms of hot flushes and sleeplessness would be gratefully welcomed by many women. However due to the study’s small size and high drop-out rate means that we are unable to heavily rely on its results.
The NHS has commented on the news of this new development: “It would have been more useful to look at the difference in reported symptoms between women taking the drug and women taking placebo (dummy treatment). As women taking placebo also had a fairly big reduction in symptoms, this placebo effect could lead to overstating the true effect of the drug.”
It is likely to be several years before results from large-scale studies emerge to tell us the long-term efficacy of this new drug. However, in the meantime, you can learn how to have a happy, healthy and natural menopause with Kegel8.
Kegel8’s Top Tips for a Healthy, Natural Menopause
If you are unable to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or choose not to, you may be anxious of the menopausal symptoms that you may endure and their effects. However, being prepared is the first step to safeguarding your health throughout the menopausal process. Here are Kegel8’s top tips for having a healthy, natural menopause:
- Give a little TLC to your pelvic floor – Collagen is the vital glue that holds the pelvic floor together, but we lose this vital protein as we age which can seriously impact on your pelvic floor. If you do not strengthen your pelvic floor before and during menopause, you may suffer from a pelvic floor disorder, such as a pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence, as 1 in 3 women do. If you are struggling to locate your pelvic floor, or you’re unsure that you are performing Kegels correctly, try using the Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner to easily strengthen and tone your pelvic floor.
- Explore your options – New ‘wonder’ menopause treatments are broadcasted to us daily, so it’s important that you assess your own needs and problem areas to tackle during your menopause in order to make it a #PositivePause.
- Watch your weight – Women can gain dozens of pounds during the menopause without altering their diet (this is also what causes that apple shape). So, it’s important that you keep an eye on your weight and maybe try to increase your physical activity, by taking part in weekly swimming sessions or taking a longer walk home.
- Menopause is normal – Keep in mind that menopause is not a disease, just a normal life transition, and there is help available online here at Kegel8.
Are you medicating your menopause? Would you take a drug developed for schizophrenia if you thought it could help your menopause symptoms? Let us know in the comments below or over on Twitter!
Read more about Menopause and your Pelvic Floor here:
 Kozakowski, J. et al. (2017) Obesity in menopause – our negligence or an unfortunate inevitability? Menopause Review, 16(2): 61-65.
 NHS (2018) Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT Shows Promise in Treating Hot Flushes [online]. NHS [viewed 19/11/2018]. Available from https://www.nhs.uk/news/medication/non-hormonal-alternative-hrt-shows-promise-treating-hot-flushes/
 Prague, J.K., Roberts, R.E., Comninos, A.N., Clarke, S., Jayasnea, C.N., Mohideen, P., Lin, V.H., Stern, T.P., Panay, N., Hunter, M.S., Webber, L.C., Dhillo, W.S. (2018) Neurokinin 3 Receptor Antagonism Rapidly Improves Vasomotor Symptoms with Sustained Duration of Action. Menopause, 1.