Electro-acupuncture May Offer Relief to Breast Cancer Patients with Night Hot Flashes

Electro-acupuncture May Offer Relief to Breast Cancer Patients with Night Hot Flashes
Electro-acupuncture, a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles, may be effective in providing relief for nocturnal hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. The study, “Comparative effectiveness of electro-acupuncture versus gabapentin for sleep disturbances in breast cancer survivors with hot flashes: a randomized trial,” was published in the journal Menopause. Breast cancer survivors often enter premature menopause as a result of chemotherapy treatments and surgery. This, together with the estrogen deficiency that is associated with certain breast cancer drugs such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, makes breast cancer survivors at a higher risk of experiencing persistent hot flashes. Nocturnal hot flashes, in particular, are the most problematic as they often interrupt sleep. Researchers examined the effects of electro-acupuncture (EA) compared to gabapentin (Neurontin, a drug used to treat several conditions, including seizures and hot flashes) for sleep disturbances in 58 breast cancer survivors who experienced hot flashes at least two times every day. Participants were randomly assigned to receive eight weeks of EA or gabapentin (900 mg daily). The primary endpoint was a change in the total Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score between groups at week eight. PSQI is a self-report questionnaire that assesses sleep quality over a one-month time interval. The measure
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