Researchers from the USA suggest that electro-acupuncture (EA) may be more effective, and result in fewer adverse effects, than the drug gabapentin (GP) for managing hot flushes in breast cancer survivors. They conducted a randomised controlled trial involving 120 survivors of breast cancer who were experiencing hot flushes at least twice per day. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups. The EA group received eight weeks of EA treatment, the drug therapy group received GP once per day, the placebo acupuncture group received sham acupuncture (SA) and the final group received placebo pills (PP). By week eight, comparing all groups, the mean reduction in hot flush scores was found to be greatest in the EA group (-7.4), followed by SA (-5.9), GP (-5.2 ) and PP (-3.4). In addition, the two pill groups reported significantly more treatment-related adverse events than the two acupuncture groups. At 24-week follow-up, hot flush symptom score reduction was still greatest in the EA group.
Electroacupuncture Versus Gabapentin for Hot Flashes Among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Aug 24. pii: JCO.2015.60.9412.