I am Dr. Louise Newson. I am a GP and Menopause Expert in West Midlands.
Anti-depressants can be useful for hot flushes for some people. So for some people who cannot take HRT for medical reasons we do sometimes give anti-depressants and they can work but we are often limited by their side effects.
One of the side effects can actually be the loss of libido. So if someone has poor libido anyway, that can make it worse but they are often anyhow short term. So for some people it is an option.
Unfortunately, I come across a lot of women who are given anti-depressants as first line…HRT is not even discussed with these people. I think sometimes people…doctors… don’t have the right training in the menopause. It is something often not mentioned in undergraduate and postgraduate training. So a lot of doctors are not confident in managing the menopause. Because of this they do something they are confident with.
And in general practice there is a lot of depression…and we treat a lot of depression. So a lot of menopausal women have symptoms that are similar to anxiety and depression; so they get given treatment but it does not often work because it is a different etiology…different reasons for having these symptoms. So I see a lot of people given anti- depressants and it makes no difference.