Menopausal syndrome (MPS) is a common gynecological disorder around the time of menopause, and hormone therapy (HT) is the first-line treatment for it. However, HT is prone to cause adverse reactions in MPS patients treated with HT. Acupuncture is a popular non-pharmaceutical therapy for MPS, but the differences in the efficacy and safety between acupuncture and HT remain unclear. The purpose of this evidence-based study is to address this issue. Five databases were searched for potentially eligible RCTs. All RCTs comparing acupuncture with HT in the treatment of MPS were included in this study. The clinical effective rate was the primary outcome. Kupperman index, serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E[Formula: see text], and side effects were the secondary outcomes. A total of 15 RCTs recruiting 1376 MPS patients were included. Results of meta-analysis showed that compared with HT, acupuncture significantly improved clinical effective rate (RR = 1.09, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.16, [Formula: see text] = 0.005), decreased the Kupperman index (WMD = -2.55, 95% CI = -2.93 to -2.17, [Formula: see text] < 0.00001) and the incidence of side effects (RR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.06-0.32, [Formula: see text] < 0.00001). There were no statistically significant differences in serum FSH (WMD = -1.36, 95% CI = -3.25-0.53, [Formula: see text] = 0.16), E2(WMD = -1.11, 95% CI = -2.59-0.37, [Formula: see text] = 0.14), or LH (WMD = -1.87, 95% CI = -4.58-0.83, [Formula: see text] = 0.17) between the acupuncture and HT groups. Based on the current evidence, manual acupuncture is safer and more effective than HT and is recommended for the treatment of MPS, but the evidence for the efficacy of other types of acupuncture is inconclusive.
Keywords: Acupuncture; Hormone Therapy; Menopausal Syndrome; Meta-Analysis; Systematic Review.