Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a clinical trial investigating the effects of acupuncture (AP) and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) on hot flushes and quality of life in postmenopausal women.
Methods: Forty postmenopausal women reporting at least 20 hot flushes per week were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. They were randomly allocated to receive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) AP, sham AP, verum CHM, or placebo CHM for 12 weeks. Follow-up assessment was conducted 12 weeks after intervention. Primary outcome measures included hot flush frequency and severity. As a secondary outcome measure, the severity of menopausal symptoms was assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) II.
Results: TCM AP induced a significant decline in all outcome measures from pretreatment to posttreatment compared with sham AP (hot flush frequency, P = 0.016; hot flush severity, P = 0.013; MRS, P < 0.001). In the TCM AP group, a larger decrease in MRS scores persisted from pretreatment to follow-up (P = 0.048). No significant differences were noted between the verum CHM group and the placebo CHM group. Compared with the verum CHM group, there was a significant decrease in MRS scores (P = 0.002) and a trend toward a stronger decrease in hot flush severity (P = 0.06) in the TCM AP group from pretreatment to posttreatment.
Conclusions: TCM AP is superior to sham AP and verum CHM in reducing menopausal symptoms, whereas verum CHM shows no significant improvements when compared with placebo CHM.