Reducing flushes

Reducing vasomotor symptoms with acupuncture in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen: a randomized controlled trial.

Authors: Liljegren A, Gunnarsson P, Landgren BM, Robéus N, Johansson H, Rotstein S.
Location: Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Journal: Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Oct

Aim: To evaluate true acupuncture to control acupuncture (CTRL) (non-insertive stimulation at non-acupuncture points) in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen suffering from hot flushes and sweatings.

Method: Eighty-four patients were randomized to receive either true acupuncture or CTRL twice a week for 5 weeks. Seventy-four patients were treated according to the protocol. In the true acupuncture group 42% (16/38) reported improvements in hot flushes after 6 weeks compared to 47% (17/36) in the CTRL group (95% CI, -28 to 18%).

Results: Both groups reported improvement regarding severity and frequencies in hot flushes and sweatings but no statistical difference was found between the groups. In a subanalysis regarding the severity of sweatings at night a statistically significant difference P = 0.03 was found in the true acupuncture group. Former experience of true acupuncture did not influence the perception of true acupuncture or CTRL. No significant differences in hormonal levels were found before and after treatment.

Conclusion: there is convincing data that true acupuncture is more effective than CTRL in reducing vasomotor symptoms is still lacking. Our study shows that both true and CTRL reduce vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.