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Acupunct Med 29:249-256 doi:10.1136/aim.2011.004085
  • Original papers

Acupuncture for hot flushes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a randomised, sham-controlled trial

  1. Myeong Soo Lee5
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Traditional Korean Medicine, Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea
  2. 2Acupuncture, Moxibustion & Meridian Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Seoul 100-715, South Korea
  4. 4Department of Statistics, College of Science, Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea
  5. 5Brain Disease Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dong Il Kim, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Traditional Korean Medicine, Dongguk University, Seoul 100-715, South Korea; obgykdi{at}hanmail.net
  • Accepted 13 April 2011
  • Published Online First 8 June 2011

Abstract

Objectives To determine the effect of acupuncture in treating hot flushes in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.

Methods The study was a randomised single-blind sham-controlled clinical trial. Perimenopausal or postmenopausal women with moderate or severe hot flushes were randomised to receive real or sham acupuncture. Both groups underwent a 4-week run-in period before the treatment. The real acupuncture group received 11 acupuncture treatments for 7 weeks, and the control group underwent sham acupuncture on non-acupuncture points during the same period. Both groups were followed for 8 weeks after the end of treatment period. Changes from baseline in the hot flush scores at week 7, measured by multiplying the hot flush frequency and severity, were the primary outcome. Hot flush frequency, severity and menopause-related symptoms measured with the Menopause Rating Scale Questionnaire were regarded as secondary outcomes.

Results 54 participants were randomised into the real acupuncture group (n=27) and the sham acupuncture group (n=27). The mean change in hot flush scores was −6.4±5.2 in the real acupuncture group and −5.6±9.2 in the sham group at week 7 from values at the start of the acupuncture treatment (10.0±8.1 vs 11.7±12.6), respectively (p=0.0810). No serious adverse events were observed during the whole study period.

Conclusions Compared to sham acupuncture, acupuncture failed to show significantly different effects on the hot flush scores but showed partial benefits on the hot flush severity. Further consideration is needed to develop appropriate strategies for distinguishing non-specific effects from observed overall effectiveness of acupuncture for hot flushes. Whether acupuncture has point-specific effects for hot flushes should be also considered in designing future researches.

Footnotes

  • Funding This study was supported by the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Dongguk University, Ilsan, South Korea.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.