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Magnesium for menopausal hot flashes.

Twenty-nine women (mean age, 53.5 years) who were experiencing hot flashes after treatment for breast cancer (at least 14 hot flashes per week for at least 1 month) received 250 mg per day of magnesium (as magnesium oxide) for 2 weeks. If adequate symptom relief was obtained (i.e., a reduction of at least 50% in the frequency or severity of symptoms), then the same dose was continued for a total of 4 weeks. If adequate symptom relief was not obtained, then the dose was increased to 250 mg twice a day for the second 2 weeks. Twenty-five patients completed the trial, of which 17 increased the magnesium dose. The mean frequency of hot flashes per week fell by 47% (p < 0.01), from 52.2 at baseline to 27.7. The mean hot flash score (the product of the hot flash frequency and the average severity) improved by 56% (p = 0.02).

Comment: Some of the chemotherapy drugs and hormones used to treat breast cancer can induce a state of menopause. The present study suggests that magnesium is effective for women experiencing hot flashes after treatment for breast cancer. Anecdotal information suggests that magnesium is also beneficial for menopausal symptoms in women who have not had breast cancer. While placebo-controlled trials are needed to confirm these reports, considering its safety and low cost, magnesium supplementation should be considered for all women suffering from menopausal hot flashes.

Park H et al. A pilot phase II trial of magnesium supplements to reduce menopausal hot flashes in breast cancer patients. Support Care Cancer. 2011;19:859-86.3.

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Title Annotation:Literature Review & Commentary
Author:Gaby, Alan R.
Publication:Townsend Letter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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