Embargoed materials for Complementary & Integrative Medicine Conference

rough over-the-counter remedies, including alternative therapies. Several pilot studies have suggested that acupuncture may have potential for decreasing the incidences of hot flashes, but this randomized, controlled clinical trial of acupuncture for hot flashes reveals that medical acupuncture is no more effective than sham, or mock, acupuncture. The data will be presented at The North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 24th-27th, 2006.

This prospective, randomized, single-blinded, sham-controlled clinical trial in peri-menopausal and postmenopausal women experiencing hot flashes included 103 women with = 5 hot flashes a day who were randomized to medical or sham acupuncture. Participants received bi-weekly acupuncture for a period of 5 weeks after a baseline assessment week. They were then followed for an additional 7 weeks to see what treatment effects if any persisted.

Results were obtained through daily hot flash questionnaires completed by the study participants. At week 6, data for 46 participants each in the medical and sham acupuncture groups were analyzed. Residual hot flashes were experienced by 61% of the women in the sham group and 62% of the women in the medical acupuncture group.

At week 12 data were available for 45 participants in the sham group and 46 participants in the medical acupuncture group. At this time, residual hot flashes were experienced by 60% of the women in the sham group and 71% of the women in the medical acupuncture group. Participants reported no adverse effects related to the treatments.

"The results of this study failed to suggest that the utilized medical acupuncture was any more effective than the chosen sham acupuncture for reducing hot flashes," the authors concluded.

While hormonal and neurologic factors are thought to play a role in the occurrence of hot flashes, more work remains to understand the causes an


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