Effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (Zhi Mu 14) on hot flushes and quality of life in postmenopausal women: results of a four-arm randomized controlled pilot trial
The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a clinical trial investigating the effects of acupuncture (AP) and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) on hot flushes and quality of life in postmenopausal women.
Forty postmenopausal women reporting at least 20 hot flushes per week were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. They were randomly allocated to receive traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) AP, sham AP, verum CHM, or placebo CHM for 12 weeks. Follow-up assessment was conducted 12 weeks after intervention. Primary outcome measures included hot flush frequency and severity. As a secondary outcome measure, the severity of menopausal symptoms was assessed using the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) II.
TCM AP induced a significant decline in all outcome measures from pretreatment to posttreatment compared with sham AP (hot flush frequency, P = 0.016; hot flush severity, P = 0.013; MRS, P < 0.001). In the TCM AP group, a larger decrease in MRS scores persisted from pretreatment to follow-up (P = 0.048). No significant differences were noted between the verum CHM group and the placebo CHM group. Compared with the verum CHM group, there was a significant decrease in MRS scores (P = 0.002) and a trend toward a stronger decrease in hot flush severity (P = 0.06) in the TCM AP group from pretreatment to posttreatment.
TCM AP is superior to sham AP and verum CHM in reducing menopausal symptoms, whereas verum CHM shows no significant improvements when compared with placebo CHM.