Paxil promises hot flash relief– but no one ever said it was safe

Paxil promises hot flash relief– but no one ever said it was safe

This really burns me up. Just as I was giving a drug, Valium, a guarded pass for use in the elderly for mental alertness (see last month’s Health Note “Get a younger brain in minutes”), I get an e-Alert bulletin from Jenny Thompson of Health Sciences Institute (HSI) about a horrifying new use for Paxil, a drug that almost destroyed my daughter. It was given to her by a gynecologist, who probably knows even less about the mind and how to “treat” it than psychiatrists (who know nothing).

Paxil is the trade name for paroxetine, one of the most God-awful drugs ever invented, in my opinion. The withdrawals from this devil’s brew are as bad or worse than withdrawal from heroin. I’ve witnessed it; trust me, this is an evil drug that has no legitimate place in medicine. A doctor would have to be ignorant or brain dead to assault a patient (almost always women) with this ingestible hand grenade. The whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach.

The unacceptable risks of this “acceptable” therapy

According to the HSI e-Alert, now Paxil is being pedaled as a treatment for hot flashes–that old menopausal symptom that everyone likes to treat even though nothing works very well. But these are “modern times,” and there is a drug for everything, if doctors can only find it. And even if they can’t, they’ll just prescribe something completely unrelated–just for the sake of prescribing something.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University randomly selected a group of 165 menopausal women who experienced hot flashes and who were not taking a hormone replacement therapy. Roughly one-third of the group received 25 mg of Paxil daily, one-third received 12.5 mg daily, and one-third received a placebo. The frequency and severity of hot flashes were approximately reduced (on average) 65 percent in the first group, 62 percent in the second group, and 38 percent in the placebo group.

The researchers concluded that Paxil may be “an effective and acceptable” therapy for treating hot flashes.

Well, these long-suffering ladies may find some other effects from Paxil that they may not think are so “acceptable”: hypertension, impaired concentration, nausea, vomiting, emotional instability, vertigo, inflammation of the mucus membranes, rapid heartbeat, weight gain, and “temporary suspension of consciousness,” a euphemistic way to describe falling on your face. Not to mention that taking this “antidepressant” drug can actually make you depressed.

The “peace” drug wages unfounded war on effective natural alternatives

This new Paxil promotion is the most damning thing I have ever seen in blatant commercialization and degeneration of American medicine. The AMA and Johns Hopkins University are in thrall to drug companies like GlaxoSmithKline, makers of the “peace” drug: Paxil. (Pax is Latin for peace–aren’t they clever?)

ABC television coverage reported that the researchers “believe” that Paxil is “more promising” than alternative therapies like vitamin E and black cohosh.

They believe? What kind of trash medicine is that? As the HSI e-Alert pointed out, the study didn’t even look at natural therapies–let alone measure their effectiveness in comparison to Paxil. But the mainstream press takes any chance it can get–real or (most often) imaginary–to make people distrust alternative medicine.

Actually, it’s the vitamin and herbal remedies that generally work best, with no side effects. They’re not perfect, but at least they will “do no harm,” as Hippocrates admonished doctors all those years ago.

Actions to take:

(1) As I mentioned on page 2, bioflavonoids and vitamin C work well for reducing the severity of hot flashes. Take 2 grams of vitamin C and 300-500 milligrams of bioflavonoids per day. Also take 400 IU of vitamin E daily.

(2) The HSI e-Alert is one of the best sources for regular updates on stories like this. They send out these e-mail bulletins five times a week for free–you won’t find many bargains like that these days. Sign up by visiting RH


“”Paroxetine controlled release in the treatment of menopausal hot flashes,” Journal of the American Medical Association 2003; 289(21): 2,827-2,834

“Halting Hot Flashes–Researchers say antidepressants may help menopausal women,” ABC News (, 6/3/03

“Jumpin’ Pax Flash,” Health Sciences Institute e-Alert, 6/9/03