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Kostandinos Sideras and Charles L. Loprinzi

Hot flashes are very common in women in menopause and can have a detrimental effect on quality of life. Women on risk reduction therapy are particularly prone because treatments, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, or oophorectomy, have the potential to exacerbate these symptoms. Hormonal treatments, despite the fact that they represent the most effective therapies, are not used for the treatment of hot flashes in these women because of concerns that they may increase the risk for breast cancer. As a result, several nonhormonal therapies have been tested in randomized placebo-controlled trials and shown to be effective, such as paroxetine, venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine, fluoxetine, citalopram, gabapentin, and pregabalin. In addition, several nonpharmacologic therapies have been tested with various successes. An additional consideration is how some of those drugs, especially fluoxetine and paroxetine, interact with the metabolism of tamoxifen. This article discusses these issues, and provides some recommendations regarding use of nonhormonal therapies for treating hot flashes in women on risk reduction therapy, with an emphasis on pharmacogenomic considerations.