Objective: The previously published Acupuncture on Hot Flashes Among Menopausal Women study compared the effectiveness of individualized acupuncture treatment plus self-care versus self-care alone on hot flashes and health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women. This article reports on the observational follow-up results at 6 and 12 months.
Methods: The Acupuncture on Hot Flashes Among Menopausal Women study was a pragmatic, multicenter randomized controlled trial with two parallel arms, conducted in 2006 to 2007. The 267 participants were postmenopausal women experiencing, on average, 12.6 hot flashes per 24 h. The acupuncture group received 10 individualized acupuncture treatments during 12 weeks and advice on self-care, whereas the control group received only advice on self-care. Hot flash frequency and intensity (0-10 scale) and hours of sleep per night were registered in a diary. Health-related quality of life was assessed by the Women's Health Questionnaire.
Results: From baseline to 6 months, the mean reduction in hot flash frequency per 24 hours was 5.3 in the acupuncture group and 5.0 in the control group, a nonsignificant difference of 0.3. At 12 months, the mean reduction in hot flash frequency was 6.0 in the acupuncture group and 5.8 in the control group, a nonsignificant difference of 0.2. Differences in quality-of-life scores were not statistically significant at 6 and 12 months.
Conclusion: The statistically significant differences between the study groups found at 12 weeks were no longer present at 6 and 12 months. Acupuncture can contribute to a more rapid reduction in vasomotor symptoms and increase in health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women but probably has no long-term effects.