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Ann Intern Med. 2016 Feb 2;164(3):146-54. doi: 10.7326/M15-1380. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Acupuncture for Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Randomized Trial.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hot flashes (HFs) affect up to 75% of menopausal women and pose a considerable health and financial burden. Evidence of acupuncture efficacy as an HF treatment is conflicting.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the efficacy of Chinese medicine acupuncture against sham acupuncture for menopausal HFs.

DESIGN:

Stratified, blind (participants, outcome assessors, and investigators, but not treating acupuncturists), parallel, randomized, sham-controlled trial with equal allocation. (Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12611000393954).

SETTING:

Community in Australia.

PARTICIPANTS:

Women older than 40 years in the late menopausal transition or postmenopause with at least 7 moderate HFs daily, meeting criteria for Chinese medicine diagnosis of kidney yin deficiency.

INTERVENTIONS:

10 treatments over 8 weeks of either standardized Chinese medicine needle acupuncture designed to treat kidney yin deficiency or noninsertive sham acupuncture.

MEASUREMENTS:

The primary outcome was HF score at the end of treatment. Secondary outcomes included quality of life, anxiety, depression, and adverse events. Participants were assessed at 4 weeks, the end of treatment, and then 3 and 6 months after the end of treatment. Intention-to-treat analysis was conducted with linear mixed-effects models.

RESULTS:

327 women were randomly assigned to acupuncture (n = 163) or sham acupuncture (n = 164). At the end of treatment, 16% of participants in the acupuncture group and 13% in the sham group were lost to follow-up. Mean HF scores at the end of treatment were 15.36 in the acupuncture group and 15.04 in the sham group (mean difference, 0.33 [95% CI, -1.87 to 2.52]; P = 0.77). No serious adverse events were reported.

LIMITATION:

Participants were predominantly Caucasian and did not have breast cancer or surgical menopause.

CONCLUSION:

Chinese medicine acupuncture was not superior to noninsertive sham acupuncture for women with moderately severe menopausal HFs.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE:

National Health and Medical Research Council.

PMID:
26784863
DOI:
10.7326/M15-1380
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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