Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), including hot flashes and night sweats, occur in as many as 68.5% of women as a result of menopause. While the median duration of these symptoms is 4 years, approximately 10% of women continue to experience VMS as many as 12 years after their final menstrual period. As such, VMS have a significant impact on the quality of life and overall physical health of women experiencing VMS, leading to their pursuance of treatment to alleviate these symptoms. Management of VMS includes lifestyle modifications, some herbal and vitamin supplements, hormonal therapies including estrogen and tibolone, and nonhormonal therapies including clonidine, gabapentin, and some of the serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. The latter agents, including desvenlafaxine, have been the focus of increased research as more is discovered about the roles of serotonin and norepinephrine in the thermoregulatory control system. This review will include an overview of VMS as they relate to menopause. It will discuss the risk factors for VMS as well as the proposed pathophysiology behind their occurrence. The variety of treatment options for VMS will be discussed. Focus will be given to the role of desvenlafaxine as a treatment option for VMS management.
Keywords: desvenlafaxine; hot flashes; menopause; vasomotor symptom treatment; vasomotor symptoms.