The aim of the study was to evaluate the short and long-term effects of acupuncture on vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and quality of life-related measures.
A total of 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years, experiencing four or more VMS per day, were recruited from the community and randomized to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within the first 6 months (acupuncture group) or the second 6 months (waitlist control group) of the 12-month study period. The primary outcome was mean daily frequency of VMS. Secondary outcomes were VMS interference with daily life, sleep quality, depressive symptoms, somatic and other symptoms, anxiety, and quality of life.
The VMS frequency declined by 36.7% at 6 months in the acupuncture group and increased by 6.0% in the control group (P < 0.001 for between-group comparison). At 12 months, the reduction from baseline in the acupuncture group was 29.4% (P < 0.001 for within-group comparison from baseline to 12 months), suggesting that the reduction was largely maintained after treatment. Statistically significant clinical improvement was observed after three acupuncture treatments, and maximal clinical effects occurred after a median of eight treatments. Persistent improvements were seen in many quality of life-related outcomes in the acupuncture group relative to the control group.
We found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with significant reduction in VMS, and several quality-of-life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.