Acupuncture for Hot Flashes
From Medscape comes this article from the North American Menopause Society (which, I have to admit, I never heard of until this morning). It suggests that acupuncture may be helpful for treatment of hot flashes in women who have had breast cancer. I have written before about the positive contribution of acupuncture for a number of symptoms. Although I have never done it, I have had many patients who were convinced that acupuncture helped their general wellness level, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, and/or hot flashes.
Here is the beginning and then a link to read more:
From The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) > NAMS Menopause e-Consult
Breast Cancer and Acupuncture
Ting Bao, MD, DABMA; Vered Stearns, MD
We had a breast cancer patient come into our office with distressing vasomotor symptoms. Because hormone therapy would not be appropriate for her, should we recommend an alternative treatment, such as acupuncture?
Commentary from Ting Bao, MD, DABMA, and Vered Stearns, MD
Vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats) are common complaints among breast cancer survivors. These symptoms are usually the result of treatments related to breast cancer such as chemotherapy or estrogen deprivation therapy. Management of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors is challenging because the most effective treatment, hormone therapy, is associated with possible increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and development of new breast cancer. Several nonhormonal pharmacologic agents, such as clonidine (an antihypertensive), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants), and gabapentin or pregabalin (anticonvulsants) are reported to reduce hot flashes by as much as 50% to 60%. Their usage, however, is limited due to their potential side effects and interactions with breast cancer medications such as tamoxifen. A number of natural and nonconventional remedies, such as soy isoflavones, red clover, vitamin E, and black cohosh have been studied for their role in treating hot flashes, but overall do not suggest benefit when compared to placebo. Thus, these remedies are not routinely recommended. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting filiform stainless steel needles into predefined points on the skin, so-called acupoints, to achieve therapeutic effect. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to be a safe procedure with minimal side effects. The role of acupuncture in reducing hot flashes in women with breast cancer has been studied in a number of well-designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs).