Two Modes of Acupuncture as a Treatment for Hot Flushes in Men with Prostate Cancer-A Prospective Multicenter Study with Long-Term Follow-Up

Author: Frisk J, Spetz AC, Hjertberg H, Petersson B, Hammar M
Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Link?ping University, Link?ping, Sweden; Department of Surgery, County Council of ?sterg?tland, Norrk?ping, Sweden
Conference/Journal: Eur Urol.
Date published: 2008 Feb 14
Other: Word Count: 280

BACKGROUND: Hot flushes are common and distressing among men with castrational treatment for prostate cancer. Of the few treatments, most have side effects. OBJECTIVE: Assess changes in hot flushes of electrostimulated (EA) and traditional acupuncture (TA). DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-one men with hot flushes due to prostate cancer treatment were recruited from three urological departments in Sweden, from 2001 to 2004. INTERVENTION: Thirty-one men were randomized to EA (12 needle points, with 4 electrostimulated) or TA (12 needle points) weekly for 12 wk. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome: number of and distress from hot flushes in 24h and change in "hot flush score." Secondary outcome: change in 24-h urine excretion of CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide). RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Twenty-nine men completed the treatment. Hot flushes per 24h decreased significantly, from a median of 7.6 (interquartile range [IQR], 6.0-12.3) at baseline in the EA group to 4.1 (IQR, 2.0-6.5) (p=0.012) after 12 wk, and from 5.7 (IQR, 5.1-9.5) in the TA group to 3.4 (IQR1.8-6.3) (p=0.001). Distress by flushes decreased from 8.2 (IQR, 6.5-10.7) in the EA group to 3.3 (IQR, 0.3-8.1) (p=0.003), and from 7.6 (IQR, 4.7-8.3) to 3.4 (IQR, 2.0-5.6) (p=0.001) in the TA group after 12 wk, (78% and 73% reduction in "hot flush score," respectively). The effect lasted up to 9 mo after treatment ended. CGRP did not change significantly. Few, minor side effects were reported. Limitations: small number of patients; no placebo control, instead a small group controlled for 6 wk pretreatment. CONCLUSIONS: EA and TA lowered number of and distress from hot flushes. The hot flush score decreased 78% and 73%, respectively, in line with or better than medical regimens for these symptoms. Acupuncture should be considered an alternative treatment for these symptoms, but further evaluation is needed, preferably with a non- or placebo-treated control group.
PMID: 18294761