The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given final approved to a new nonhormonal medicine, Fezolinetant, for hot flashes.
Developed by Astellas Pharma, Veozah is the second nonhormonal drug cleared for hot flashes in the United States. Research suggests that it will be beneficial in reducing hot flashes and night sweats.
“We need better nonhormonal therapies for those women who can’t or who choose not to take hormone therapy,” says JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the director of the midlife health center at the University of Virginia Health in Charlottesville.
More than one million American women enter menopause each year, according to StatPearls in 2022. This happens when estrogen levels drop, and women stop menstruating.
According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), as the production of hormones estrogen and progesterone decrease in the years leading up to menopause and afterward, a wide range of symptoms may occur, including mood swings, joint pain, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and memory problems. In addition, vasomotor symptoms, or hot flashes and night sweats, occur in roughly 75 percent of women going through menopause.
While the exact cause of hot flashes and night sweats isn’t known, Dr. Pinkerton says decreased estrogen levels are thought to interfere with normal body temperature regulation processes in the brain.
Fezolinetant is the first drug in a new family of medicines known as neurokinin 3 receptor antagonists, which are designed to block activity in the brain’s hypothalamus region that causes the body’s internal thermostat to malfunction.
According to the company, Veozah will be available in pharmacies within the next few weeks, and the cost will be around $550 for a one-month supply. They also plan to offer a financial support program to make the medication more affordable.