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Acupuncture Versus Venlafaxine for the Management of Vasomotor Symptoms in Patients With Hormone Receptor– Positive Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Vasomotor symptoms are common adverse effects of antiestrogen hormone treatment in conventional breast cancer care. Hormone replacement therapy is contraindicated in patients with breast cancer. Venlafaxine (Effexor), the therapy of choice for these symptoms, has numerous adverse effects. Recent studies suggest acupuncture may be effective in reducing vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women. This randomized controlled trial tested whether acupuncture reduces vasomotor symptoms and produces fewer adverse effects than venlafaxine. Patients and Methods Fifty patients were randomly assigned to receive 12 weeks of acupuncture (n  25) or venlafaxine (n  25) treatment. Health outcomes were measured for up to 1 year post-treatment. Results Both groups exhibited significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other qualityof-life symptoms, including significant improvements in mental health from pre- to post-treatment. These changes were similar in both groups, indicating that acupuncture was as effective as venlafaxine. By 2 weekspost-treatment, the venlafaxine group experienced significant increases in hotflashes, whereas hot flashes in the acupuncture group remained at low levels. The venlafaxin egroup experienced 18 incidences of adverse effects (eg,nausea,drymouth,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, ands enseofwell-being. Conclusion Acupuncture appears to be equivalent to drug therapy in these patients. It is a safe, effective and durable treatment for vasomotor symptoms secondary to long-term antiestrogen hormone use in patients with breast cancer.

Studienautor: Eleanor M. Walker, Alba I. Rodriguez, Beth Kohn, Ronald M. Ball, Jan Pegg, Jeffrey R. Pocock, Ramon Nunez, Ed Peterson, Susan Jakary, and Robert A. Levine
Quelle: J Clin Oncol 27. © 2009 by American Society of Clinical Oncology

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