This anticholinergic helps hot flushes for breast cancer patients

Researchers 'surprised' by the rapidity and magnitude of the response

A low dose of oxybutynin, an anticholinergic used to treat incontinence associated with overactive bladder, reduces hot flushes and improves quality of life in breast cancer patients, according to a study.

In addition to other findings, this study shows that oxybutynin is an effective drug for the treatment of hot flushes in patients who have contraindications to hormone-based therapy, says lead author Dr Roberto Leon-Ferre of Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, US.

Participants in the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 150 women who reported at least 28 hot flushes a week over more than one month.

About two-thirds of the women were on tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor during the study, which was presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas.

Concurrent use of antidepressants, gabapentin and pregabalin were allowed but not other anticholinergic