Electroacupuncture may be more effective and safer than gabapentin for managing hot flashes among breast cancer survivors, according to a new study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
For the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, and colleagues sought to compare the effects of electroacupuncture with gabapentin for hot flashes among breast cancer survivors.
Researchers enrolled 120 breast cancer survivors who were experiencing bothersome hot flashes at least twice per day day. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 8 weeks of electroacupuncture or gabapentin once daily with placebo acupuncture or pills.
Results showed that by week 8, patients in the electroacupuncture group experienced the greatest reduction in hot flash composite score, followed by placebo electroacupuncture, gabapentin, and placebo pills (P≤0.001).
In regard to safety, patients in the gabapentin group experienced the greatest amount of treatment-related adverse events, followed by placebo pills, electroacupuncture, and placebo electroacupuncture (P=0.005).
By week 24, electroacupuncture was still the most effective treatment for reducing hot flash composite score. The authors note that these findings need to be confirmed in a larger randomized controlled trial with long-term follow-up.
This study aimed at evaluating the effects of electroacupuncture versus gabapentin for hot flashes among survivors of breast cancer, with a specific focus on the placebo and nocebo effects.