How should menopausal symptoms be treated in women at high risk of breast cancer?

Updated: Feb 04, 2021
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Many new treatments for menopausal symptoms have been suggested (eg, clonidine, venlafaxine, gabapentin, and combination venlafaxine plus gabapentin). To date, no randomized clinical trials among women at increased risk of breast cancer or women with a history of breast cancer have assessed the overall efficacy or risks associated with these treatments. [37] Use of these agents is controversial and should target the severity of menopausal symptoms.

Other hormone-based approaches (eg, low-dose vaginal estrogen for vaginal and urinary symptoms, including dyspareunia) are generally considered to be safer, particularly in patients receiving SERMs. However, these agents may also carry a slight increased risk, in that they are capable of raising estradiol levels, at least transiently, depending on the dose and frequency of administration. Little evidence supports the benefit of commonly used dietary isoflavones, black cohosh, or vitamin E.

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