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Effects of acupuncture on hot flashes in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women-a multicenter randomized clinical trial

Kim, Kun Hyung OMD, MS1; Kang, Kyung Won MS1; Kim, Dong Il OMD, PhD2; Kim, Hyung Jun OMD, PhD3; Yoon, Hyun Min OMD, PhD4; Lee, Jin Moo OMD, PhD5; Jeong, Jae Cheol OMD, MS2; Lee, Myeong Soo PhD1; Jung, Hee Jung MS1; Choi, Sun-Mi OMD, PhD1

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181bfac3b

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.

In this multicenter, randomized, controlled trial, 12 sessions of acupuncture plus usual care conducted over 4 weeks showed significant reduction of hot flash activities and menopause-related symptoms compared to usual care alone group without serious adverse events, indicating the potential therapeutic role of acupuncture on menopausal hot flashes in day-to-day clinical practice.

From the 1Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and Meridian Research Center, Division of Standard Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Traditional Korean Medicine, Dongguk University, Ilsan; 3Department of Oriental Gynecology, Semyung University, Jecheon; 4Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, College of Oriental Medicine, Dong-Eui University, Busan; and 5Department of Oriental Gynecology, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea.

Received June 22, 2009; revised and accepted September 3, 2009.

Funding/support: This study was supported by the Acupuncture, Moxibustion, and Meridian Research Project (K09050) of the Korean Institute of Oriental Medicine in 2009.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Sun-Mi Choi, OMD, PhD, Division of Standard Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 461-24, Jeonmin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, South Korea. E-mail:

©2010The North American Menopause Society