Walker, E.M., Rodriguez, A.I., Kohn, B., Ball, R.M., Pegg, J., Pocock, J.R., … Levine, R.A. (2010). Acupuncture versus venlafaxine for the management of vasomotor symptoms in patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 28, 634–640.doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.23.5150
The study compared acupuncture tovenlafaxine for 12 weeks with health measurements for one year.
The enrolled 50 women, with 25 randomized to each arm.
This was a randomized, controlled trial.
By two weeks after treatment, the venlafaxine group experienced significant decreases in hot flashes, and hot flashes in the acupuncture group remained at low levels. The venlafaxine group experienced 18 incidences of adverse effects (e.g., nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, anxiety), whereas the acupuncture group experienced no negative adverse effects. Acupuncture had the additional benefit of increased sex drive in some women, and most reported an improvement in their energy, clarity of thought, and sense of well-being.
Both groups exhibited significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other QOL symptoms. Acupuncture was as effective as venlafaxine.
The study was limited by its small sample size.