Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes

Evidence Summaries

Level of Evidence = C

Acupuncture may not be effective for menopausal vasomotor symptoms compared to sham acupuncture and may be less effective than hormone therapy.

Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by study quality (unclear allocation concealment).

A Cochrane review 1 included 8 studies with a total of 528 subjects. In comparison of acupuncture to sham acupuncture no significant difference was found for hot flush frequency (MD -1.13 flushes per day, 95% CI -2.55 to 0.29; 8 RCTs, n=414, I² = 70%, low-quality evidence) but flushes were significantly less severe in the acupuncture group, with a small effect size (SMD -0.45, 95% CI -0.84 to -0.05, 6 RCTs, 297 women, I² = 62%, very-low-quality evidence). In a post hoc sensitivity analysis excluding studies of women with breast cancer, heterogeneity was reduced to 0% for hot flush frequency and 34% for hot flush severity and there was no significant difference between the groups for either outcome. Acupuncture was associated with significantly more frequent hot flushes than hormone therapy (MD 3.18 flushes per day, 95% CI 2.06 to 4.29, 3 RCTs, n=114, I² = 0%, low-quality evidence). There was no significant difference between the groups for hot flush severity (SMD 0.53, 95% CI -0.14 to 1.20, 2 RCTs, 84 women, I² = 57%, low-quality evidence).

References

1. Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I et al. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013;(7):CD007410.  [PMID:23897589]


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