A pilot phase II trial of magnesium supplements to reduce menopausal hot flashes in breast cancer patients

Department of Internal Medicine Residency Program, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, VA, USA.
Supportive Care in Cancer (Impact Factor: 2.36). 06/2011; 19(6):859-63. DOI: 10.1007/s00520-011-1099-7
Source: PubMed


We tested if magnesium would diminish bothersome hot flashes in breast cancer patients.
Breast cancer patients with at least 14 hot flashes a week received magnesium oxide 400 mg for 4 weeks, escalating to 800 mg if needed. Hot flash score (frequency × severity) at baseline was compared to the end of treatment.
Of 29 who enrolled, 25 women completed treatment. The average age was 53.5 years; six African American, the rest Caucasian; eight were on tamoxifen, nine were on aromatase inhibitors, and 14 were on anti-depressants. Seventeen patients escalated the magnesium dose. Hot flash frequency/week was reduced from 52.2 (standard error (SE), 13.7) to 27.7 (SE, 5.7), a 41.4% reduction, p = 0.02, two-sided paired t test. Hot flash score was reduced from 109.8 (SE, 40.9) to 47.8 (SE, 13.8), a 50.4% reduction, p = 0.04. Of 25 patients, 14 (56%) had a >50% reduction in hot flash score, and 19 (76%) had a >25% reduction. Fatigue, sweating, and distress were all significantly reduced. Side effects were minor: two women stopped the drug including one each with headache and nausea, and two women had grade 1 diarrhea. Compliance was excellent, and many patients continued treatment after the trial.
Oral magnesium appears to have helped more than half of the patients and was well tolerated. Side effects and cost ($0.02/tablet) were minimal. A randomized placebo-controlled trial is planned.

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Available from: Gwendolyn L Parker, Mar 03, 2015
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    • "Herbal supplements are widely used for vasomotor symptoms , with varying degrees of efficacy. Among the more frequently studied are hops (Heyerick et al. 2006; Erkkola et al. 2010), red clover (Hidalgo et al. 2005; Geller et al. 2009; Lipovac et al. 2012), flaxseed (Lewis et al. 2006; Colli et al. 2012; Pruthi et al. 2012), St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) (Al-Akoum et al. 2009; Abdali et al. 2010; Uebelhack et al. 2006; Briese et al. 2007), evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) (Farzaneh et al. 2013), French maritime pine bark (Pycngenol) (Yang et al. 2007; Kohama & Negami 2013); Sibiric Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) (Heger et al. 2006; Kaszkin-Bettag et al. 2007; Kaszkin- Bettag et al. 2009; Hasper et al. 2009), valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) (Mirabi & Mojab 2013), Guaraná (Paullinia cupana) (Oliveira et al. 2013), and magnesium (Park et al. 2011). Summaries of these studies can be found in Additional file 1. "
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    • "This partially diverges from the results found in the literature, since numerous reports show that certain menopausal symptoms may be related not only to lower levels of steroid hormones, especially estrogens, but also, though much less frequently, to the altered Ca to Mg ratio in blood serum [29]. Similar conclusions were drawn by Park et al., who applied a 4-week supplementation with Mg, and thus reduced incidences and severity of hot flushes in more than a half of the women examined [30]. "
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