How long do the effects of acupuncture on hot flashes persist in cancer patients?
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- Frisk, J.W., Hammar, M.L., Ingvar, M. et al. Support Care Cancer (2014) 22: 1409. doi:10.1007/s00520-014-2126-2
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Acupuncture has been suggested as therapy for hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. In this systematic review, we sought to evaluate the long-term effects on vasomotor symptoms after the end of a defined treatment period of acupuncture in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer.
A literature search revealed 222 articles within the field. With defined exclusion criteria, we identified 17 studies. We also used the Jadad quality score and identified seven studies with a score of at least 3.
Six of seven identified studies qualified for inclusion in an analysis that measured frequency of hot flashes weighted in relation to number of patients (n = 172). The average reduction from baseline to end of acupuncture (ranging between 5 and 12 weeks of treatment) showed 43.2 % reduction of hot flashes. At the last follow-up (mean 5.8 months, range 3–9 months) after the end of therapy, the weighted reduction from baseline was sustained at 45.6 % in the 153 of 172 patients (89 %) who were followed up.
Data from six prospective analyzed studies indicate at least 3-month effects after the end of acupuncture treatment for flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. However, larger randomized trials with long-term follow-up will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.