An American study suggests that electro-acupuncture (EA) may be more effective for managing hot flushes among breast cancer survivors than the drug gabapentin (GP), with fewer adverse effects. The randomised controlled trial involved 120 survivors of breast cancer who experienced hot flushes at least twice per day. Participants were randomly assigned to receive eight weeks of EA or GP once per day and these active treatments were compared with sham acupuncture (SA) and placebo pills (PP). EA aimed at treating hot flushes was carried out for 30 minutes, with additional points were chosen on the basis of subjects’ other presenting symptoms. SA followed the same protocol with non-penetrating sham needles. At week 8, comparing all treatment groups, the mean reduction in hot flush scores was greatest in the EA group. SA elicited a significantly greater placebo response compared with PP. The pill groups also reported significantly more treatment-related adverse events than the acupuncture groups. At week 24 follow-up, hot flush score reduction was still greatest in the EA group. (-8.5, -6.1, -4.6 and -2.8 respectively).
Electroacupuncture Versus Gabapentin for Hot Flashes Among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Nov 1;33(31):3615-20.