Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture plus usual care for relief of hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms compared with usual care alone in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.
Methods: A multicenter, randomized, controlled trial was conducted. Perimenopausal or postmenopausal women with average hot flash scores of 10 or higher during the week before the screening visit were enrolled and randomly divided into two groups. The treatment group received 12 sessions of acupuncture and maintained usual care for 4 weeks, whereas the control group underwent usual care alone. Hot flash scores were calculated by multiplying frequency by severity of hot flashes recorded in a daily diary. The primary outcome was the mean change in the average 24-hour hot flash score at week 4 from baseline. The secondary outcome was the mean change in menopause-related symptoms as estimated by the Menopause Rating Scale questionnaire at week 4. Follow-up assessment at week 8 was conducted in the treatment group only.
Results: The mean change in the average 24-hour hot flash score was -16.57 in the treatment group (n = 116) and -6.93 in the control group (n = 59), a difference of 9.64 (P < 0.0001). The total Menopause Rating Scale score, as well as the subscale scores for the psychological, somatic, and urogenital dimensions of menopause, showed significant improvement in the acupuncture group compared with the control group (P < 0.001). The mean change in the treatment group in the primary outcome was -17.58 at week 8.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that acupuncture in addition to usual care is associated with marked clinical improvement in hot flashes and menopause-related symptoms in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women.