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Acupuncture may reduce hot flashes in breast cancer patients

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Acupuncture could be equally effective as drug therapy in easing hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms in women undergoing breast cancer treatment, reports Reuters.

During the study, scientists randomly assigned 25 women to receive the antidepressant drug Effexor, which is a common treatment for symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, or acupuncture. They found:

Both treatments reduced hot flashes, night sweats, and symptoms of depression to a similar degree, and also significantly improved mental health. But within two weeks after treatment ended, women in the Effexor group saw their hot flashes increase; this didn't happen in the acupuncture group.

Eighteen women in the Effexor group had side effects, such as dizziness and anxiety, while none of the women given acupuncture had such side effects.

A 2006 Stanford study also showed acupuncture treatment to be a safe and effective approach to relieving hot flashes among post-menopausal women.

During the one-year, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that after seven weeks of treatment 28 percent of the women who received acupuncture reported a significant decrease in the severity of hot flashes, compared to only 6 percent of the women receiving the placebo treatment.

Photo by ggvic

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