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A pooled analysis of three studies of nonpharmacological interventions for menopausal hot flashes

Avis, Nancy E., PhD1; Levine, Beverly J., PhD1; Danhauer, Suzanne, PhD1; Coeytaux, Remy R., MD, PhD2

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001255
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Objective: The aim of the study was to conduct a pooled analysis of three published trials of nonpharmacological interventions for menopausal hot flashes to compare the effectiveness of interventions.

Methods: Data from three randomized controlled trials of interventions for hot flashes (two acupuncture trials, one yoga trial) were pooled. All three studies recruited perimenopausal or postmenopausal women experiencing ≥4 hot flashes/d on average. The primary outcome for all three studies was frequency of hot flashes as measured by the Daily Diary of Hot Flashes. Study 1 participants were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of acupuncture treatments (active intervention), sham acupuncture (attention control), or usual care. Study 2 participants were randomly assigned to 10 weeks of yoga classes, health and wellness education classes (attention control), or waitlist control. Study 3 randomly assigned participants to 6 months of acupuncture or waitlist control. To standardize the time frame for these analyses, only the first 8 weeks of intervention from all three studies were used.

Results: The three active interventions and the two attention control groups had statistically similar trends in the percentage reduction of hot flashes over 8 weeks, ranging from 35% to 40%. These five groups did not differ significantly from each other, but all showed significantly greater reduction in hot flash frequency compared with the three usual care/waitlist groups.

Conclusion: Acupuncture, yoga, and health and wellness education classes all demonstrated statistically similar effectiveness in reduction of hot flash frequency compared with controls.

1Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

2Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Address correspondence to: Nancy E. Avis, PhD, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1063. E-mail: navis@wakehealth.edu

Received 27 July, 2018

Revised 13 September, 2018

Accepted 13 September, 2018

Funding/support: None.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

© 2019 by The North American Menopause Society.