True and Sham Acupuncture Produced Similar Frequency of Ovulation and Improved LH to FSH Ratios in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Author: Pastore LM, Williams CD, Jenkins J, Patrie JT.
Departments of Obstetrics/Gynecology (L.M.P.), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (J.J.), and Public Health Sciences (J.T.P.), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908; Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Center of Virginia (C.D.W.), Charlottesville, Virginia 22911.
Conference/Journal: J Clin Endocrinol Metab.
Date published: 2011 Aug 3
Other: Word Count: 257

Context: Acupuncture may represent a nonpharmaceutical treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), based on four studies. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine whether true, as compared with sham, acupuncture normalizes pituitary gonadotropin hormones and increases ovulatory frequency in women with PCOS. Design: This was a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial (5 month protocol). Setting: The study was conducted in central Virginia. Participants: Eighty-four reproductive-aged women completed the intervention. Eligibility required a PCOS diagnosis and no hormonal intervention 60 d before enrollment. Interventions: Intervention included 12 sessions of true or sham acupuncture (Park sham device) for 8 wk. Main Outcome Measures: Serum LH and FSH at baseline, after intervention, and 3 months later were measured. Ovulation was measured with weekly urine or blood samples. Results: Both arms demonstrated a similar mean ovulation rate over the 5 months (0.37/month among n = 40 true acupuncture and 0.40/month among n = 44 sham participants, P = 0.6), similar LH to FSH ratio improvement (-0.5 and -0.8 true and sham, respectively, P < 0.04 after intervention vs. baseline) and a similar decline in LH over the 5-month protocol (P < 0.05). Neither arm experienced a change in FSH. There were seven pregnancies (no difference by intervention, P = 0.7). Lower fasting insulin and free testosterone were highly correlated with a higher ovulation rate within the true acupuncture group only (P = 0.03), controlling for prestudy menstrual frequency and body mass index. Conclusion: We were unable to discern a difference between the true and sham acupuncture protocols for these women with PCOS, and both groups had a similar improvement in their LH/FSH ratio.

PMID: 21816787