Non-hormonal treatment for menopause vasomotor symptoms approved for use in the UK

Fezolinetant is an alternative to hormone replacement therapy for people experiencing vasomotor symptoms of menopause.
Woman in bed with hot flushes

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has licensed fezolinetant (Veozah; Astellas Pharma) for the treatment of hot flushes in menopause.

Fezolinetant is a neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist, which acts on the brain’s thermoregulatory centres to modulate hot flushes and night sweats, often referred to as vasomotor symptoms (VMS).

The non-hormonal drug, taken in tablet form, offers an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for people experiencing menopause.

Marci English, vice president, head of biopharma development at Astellas Pharma, said: “Fezolinetant’s novel mechanism of action targets the root cause of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. We are proud to have developed an innovative treatment option for a condition that has lacked scientific advancement for too long.”

According to the British Menopause Society (BMS), more than 75% of women experience VMS, 25% of whom describe their symptoms as severe.

Haitham Hamoda, consultant gynaecologist and trustee of the BMS, said: “Having access to fezolinetant, a new non-hormonal treatment option, will increase the options available to women, in particular those who can’t take HRT or do not wish to take it. It is likely to offer many women experiencing VMS considerable improvement in their day-to-day life.”

Fezolinetant will be available on private prescription from 5 January 2024.

Astellas Pharma has applied to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to make the drug available on the NHS and a review to appraise its clinical and cost effectiveness is in progress.

Commenting on the MHRA approval, Nuttan Tanna, pharmacist consultant in women’s health and osteoporosis at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It would be great if fezolinetant was fast-tracked for NHS prescribing.

“We have patients in our menopause medicines management clinic who would benefit from this new non-hormonal neurokinin-3 blocker drug as they are struggling from menopausal vasomotor symptoms but cannot or do not wish to take HRT.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, December 2023, Vol 311, No 7980;311(7980)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2023.1.205393

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