What To Know About Veozah, The Non-Hormonal Hot Flash Treatment That Is Long Overdue

Although our society doesn't tend to talk about menopause as much as it should, when the word does come into conversation it's often accompanied by the image of hot flashes. While menopausal and perimenopausal women experience more than just hot flashes in regard to side effects, it seems to be the symptom many people associate with menopause.

Hot flashes are exactly that: a flash of heat that comes across the body for no more than a few minutes. It can include sweating and flushing through the neck and face, followed by chills while the body tries to regulate itself again. These hot flashes are the result of decreased levels of estrogen in the body that can disrupt the internal thermostat, making the body extra sensitive to temperature. So, if your body thinks you're too hot, it will attempt to cool you down through a hot flash, via Mayo Clinic. Although they're due to hormonal changes, there are certain things that can trigger hot flashes like hot weather, smoking, caffeine, alcohol, stress, spicy foods, and even clothing that's on the snug side. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health, roughly 85% of menopausal women experience hot flashes.

But while hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help in minimizing or eliminating hot flashes, HRT isn't an option for everyone. Because of this, Veozah, a nonhormonal oral drug that was just approved by the FDA to treat hot flashes is a big deal for menopausal and perimenopausal women. 

What's Veozah?

Pardon the technical terminology, but Veozah is the "first neurokinin 3 (NK3) receptor antagonist" to be approved by the FDA as medication to treat moderate to severe menopausal-related hot flashes. In layman's terms, the way Veozah works is that it binds to and blocks how a receptor in the brain (NK3) typically processes information in regard to how the body regulates its internal temperature.

"Hot flashes as a result of menopause can be a serious physical burden on women and impact their quality of life," Dr. Janet Maynard, director of the Office of Rare Diseases, Pediatrics, Urologic and Reproductive Medicine, in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the FDA's press announcement. "The introduction of a new molecule to treat moderate to severe menopausal hot flashes will provide an additional safe and effective treatment option for women."

Treatment would include taking one 45mg pill of Veozah once a day, every day at the same time. Similar to taking birth control pills, if a dose is accidentally missed, then Veozah should be taken right away. When it comes to hormones, you want to keep things as near to routine as possible in order for the pill to be as effective as it can be.

Why it's such a big deal

What makes Veozah so groundbreaking is that although hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help treat menopausal and perimenopausal side effects, not everyone can use HRT. According to a 2019 study published in Ecancer Medical Science, HRTs may be the solution for hot flashes, but for those who have had hormone-dependent cancers, like ovarian, breast, or uterine cancer, HRTs aren't an option. Women who are at high risk of strokes or heart attacks are also advised against HRT because it can potentially exacerbate these issues. However, that doesn't mean that Veozah is for everyone either. As stated in the press announcement, those with liver injury or liver disease may not be able to take it.

While hot flashes can negatively affect one's quality of life, menopause is inevitable for anyone with ovaries. Even those who underwent a hysterectomy at a young age will have to endure menopause following the procedure. Considering half the world has ovaries and will experience perimenopause and menopause at some point, relief from the side effects is necessary. Research has found that the menopausal transition can last as long as 14 years for some, so having more than one treatment option for those pesky hot flashes is an amazing breakthrough. No one should have to deal with dripping in sweat during a big meeting or even just out with friends for the night. We deserve better than that and now we finally have it.