Purpose: To determine the efficacy of transdermal clonidine for alleviating tamoxifen-induced hot flashes in women with a history of breast cancer.
Patients and methods: A randomized, double-blind, crossover design was used in this prospective study. Women with a history of breast cancer who were receiving tamoxifen and suffering from hot flashes were potentially eligible for this protocol study.
Results: Clonidine did reduce hot-flash frequency to a degree that was statistically impressive (P < .0001), but clinically moderate (20% reduction from baseline). It also decreased hot-flash severity (P = .02, 10% reduction from baseline). Clonidine was related to increased mouth dryness (P < .001), constipation (P < .02), itchiness under the patch (P < .01), and drowsiness (P < .05).
Conclusion: Better means are needed to alleviate hot flashes among patients in whom estrogen therapy is contraindicated.