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Hot-flushes menopause drug Veoza approved in UK

A new type of non-hormonal menopause treatment has been approved in the UK, for hot flushes and night sweats.

The daily pill, Veoza – or fezolinetant – works on the brain’s temperature-control centre to alleviate these symptoms.

Up to 80% of women going through the menopause experiences them, experts estimate, although not all will want to take medication for it.

The drug has not yet been recommended for the NHS to prescribe though.

That requires a review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, expected next year.

Regulating temperature

Menopause is a normal, natural change, usually between the ages of 45 and 55.

As women approach the menopause – when their periods permanently stop – their levels of the hormone oestrogen fluctuate and drop, which can cause problematic symptoms.

The body can think it is overheating, for example.

Veoza helps with this by blocking a protein in the brain called neurokinin B, involved in regulating temperature.

But unlike hormone replacement therapy (HRT), it will not alleviate other menopausal symptoms such as mood changes or vaginal dryness.

‘Close review’

Julian Beach, from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: “Hot flushes and night sweats caused by menopause are common and can have a significant impact on a woman’s daily life.

“No medicine would be approved unless it met our expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and we continue to keep the safety of all medicines under close review.”

The menopause – and the years leading up to it – affect women in different ways.

Falling levels of oestrogen affect the brain, periods, skin, muscles and emotions.