Navigation Links
Acupuncture May Cut Hot Flashes, Boost Sex Drive in Breast Cancer Patients

But the study was small and one expert believes more research is needed

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture is just as good as standard medication to ease hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms in women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

And as an added bonus, the needle treatment may boost the patient's sex drive and contribute to clearer thinking.

"I think the data shows you that acupuncture is a good option for these patients [and] it has no side effects," added Dr. Eleanor Walker, division director of breast services in the department of radiation oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and lead author of a study appearing online Dec. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

But another expert warned against taking the findings too seriously at this stage.

"It's provocative but the problem is it's a small number of patients and, having participated in research trials in vasomotor [hot flashes, night sweats, etc.] symptoms in women, it's a field that has a large placebo effect," said Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge. "It needs to have a bigger trial."

Prior studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women without breast cancer.

All of these studies, however, compared acupuncture to sham acupuncture, not to commonly used drugs, Walker noted. This is the first randomized controlled study to compare acupuncture alongside medication.

Many women with breast cancer receive anti-estrogen hormone therapy, usually for as long as five years, in addition to other treatments.

Although hormone therapy is effective in reducing tumor recurrence, it does cause hot flashes and night sweats.

The antidepressant Effexor (venlafaxine) is the most commonly used therapy for relieving these symptoms, but the drug brings its own problems, namely dry mouth, reduced appetite, nausea and constipation.

"We need something that's accessible that doesn't add adverse effects," Walker said.

For this study, 50 women with breast cancer were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of acupuncture (twice a week for four weeks then once a week) or daily Effexor. They were followed for a year.

Initially, both groups of women experienced similar reductions (about 50 percent) in hot flashes and depression, with an overall improvement in quality of life.

But the acupuncture benefits were longer lived. Two weeks out, women taking the antidepressant saw a resurgence in hot flashes while women in the acupuncture arm continued to have far fewer problems.

About 25 percent of women receiving acupuncture also reported more interest in sex while many also reported more energy and clearer thinking.

"The issue most of the time is the cost of it and whether insurance companies will pay for it," Walker said. Additional studies also need to look at how often women would need booster acupuncture to minimize their symptoms.

More information

There's more on breast cancer treatments at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Eleanor M. Walker, M.D., division director of breast services, department of radiation oncology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit; Jay Brooks, M.D., chairman, hematology/oncology, Ochsner Health System, Baton Rouge; Dec. 28, 2009, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Acupuncture reduces hot flashes, improves sex drive for breast cancer patients
2. Affordable Acupuncture Greeted with Open Arms by Scottsdale and Phoenix Communities
3. Acupuncture Career Guide Launches on Natural Healers
4. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Continue to Grow in Popularity Due to Focus on Natural Health
5. Acupuncture may bring relief for a common condition in women
6. Acupuncture, Exercise May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
7. Vancouver Fertility Acupuncture Clinic Announces New Fellows of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine
8. Denver-Based Acupuncturist, Dr. Martha Lucas, Releases New Book: Vanity Calamity: Your Guide to Cosmetic Acupuncture for Anti-aging
9. Acupuncture May Relieve Heartburn In Pregnancy
10. Dr. David Sniezek to Provide Medical Acupuncture at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC
11. Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a leader in the traditional and far-infrared sauna ... and far-infrared saunas. , For traditional saunas, Finnleo is offering 20% ... wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade A Nordic White Spruce from sustainably grown ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... TyloHelo Inc , North ... , Sauna accessories help improve the bather experience in the sauna, and the ... for the purist looking for simplicity in design to accessories that encourage a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Ministers, senior ... (EU), ANDI Pan African Centres of Excellence, and public R&D institutions, civil societies ... the opening of the 5th African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, ANDI, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... For the first time, ... Two Organizations, One Beat ” campaign. The partnership between the two groups began in ... in MAP International’s cause. , MAP International was founded in 1954 and is an ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Lakeview Health, a Jacksonville-based drug and alcohol ... and show through pictures what a positive difference it makes. The social media ... hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Short stories can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 On ... first federal bellwether trial against Wright Medical Technology, ... to their Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant device, awarded ... Following a two week trial and three days ... metal-on-metal hip device was defectively designed and unreasonably ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV ), a developer ... Officer Antonius Schuh, Ph.D., is scheduled to present a ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference. th Annual Piper ... in New York on Tuesday, ... will be available for one-on-one meetings during the conference. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... of self-monitoring blood glucose devices was valued at $11,171.1 ... with a CAGR of 5.7% during 2015 - 2022. ... population and increasing prevalence of diabetes. In addition, the ... care is also contributing to the growth of the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: