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FDA approves Veozah, new drug to battle menopausal hot flashes

Veozah is expected to hit the market this summer, but it only works on hot flashes, not the myriad of other symptoms that come with menopause.

CLEVELAND — Diane Hoard's menopause symptoms started at age 50, and sometimes became debilitating.

"They were happening every half hour, all day and all night," she says. "They were relentless."

Her hot flashes impact her concentration, sleep, and even work.

"You're worried about when it's going to happen and you're miserable while it's happening," she told 3News, "and you can't just get up and walk away," Diane said.

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Estrogen therapy worked wonders, but Hoard had to stop after a breast cancer diagnosis. Her menopause symptoms came back with a vengeance.

"Most days, I feel like a train wreck," she said.

That's why she was thrilled to learn about Veozah. The FDA last Friday approved the drug to treat menopausal hot flashes in women who can't or choose not to do Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).  

"I'm grateful that somebody put some time and effort in something that's usually just blown aside," Diane said.

HRT is more than 90% effective in chilling hot flashes. Veozah worked 48% of the time in women on a higher dose and 36% for those on a low dose, but it only works on hot flashes, not the myriad of other symptoms that come with menopause.

Dr. Holly Thacker is the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Specialized Women's Health as well as the executive director of Speaking of Women's Health. She already has a wait list of women wanting to take the drug, and says women need to take charge of their bodies.

"Your hormonal age is actually more important than your chronologic age," Thacker explained. "A lot of women who don't flash don't even think about it, so I think by 40 — because 40 to 60 is the range — it's important to establish lots of baselines."

Thacker is also concerned about the price of Veozah — the drug, which will hit pharmacies this summer, is expected to be priced around $550. That price may change depending on insurance coverage.

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