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d mechanisms involved before effective therapies can be designed. Hormone replacement therapy may relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, but many adverse effects can accompany these treatments.

Abstract 251 A Randomized Sham-controlled Clinical Trial of Acupuncture for Hot Flashes
Vincent, A; Barton, D; Mandrekar, J; Cha, S; Zias T; Wahner-Roedler, D; Keppler, M; Kreitzer, MJ; Loprinzi, C.

ORAL PRESENTATION 256
May 26, 2006 at 10AM
Salon 8

Author: Ted Kaptchuk, OMD
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Sham Acupuncture Has Greater Effects than Placebo Pill for the Treatment of Arm Pain

Which works better, an inert pill or an ineffective needle? According to a study to be presented at The North American Research Conference on Complementary and Integrative Medicine held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, May 24th-27th, 2006, it's the latter: sham acupuncture was more effective than a placebo pill at relieving aches in patients with persistent arm pain due to repetitive use.

The single blind randomized controlled trial involved 270 adults with pain lasting for at least 3 months despite treatment and who scored 3 or higher on a 10-point pain scale. In the trial, patients first underwent a 2 week 'run-in' phase in which they were in the placebo arms of two clinical trials comparing acupuncture and the drug amitriptyline with their respective placebo controls. The participants then went on to receive either sham acupuncture twice weekly for 6 weeks or a placebo pill once daily for 8 weeks. At the end of these sessions, the investigators assessed arm pain, arm function, and arm strength.

During the 2 week run-in period, pain decreased to a similar extent in both the sham acupuncture and placebo pill groups. Symptom severity and grip strength were similar in both groups as well, but arm function improved more in the placebo pill group than in the sham acupuncture group.
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25-May-2006


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