Eur Urol. 2009;55:156-163

Two modes of acupuncture appear to decrease the number and distress of hot flushes in men receiving castrational treatment for prostate cancer, according to a Swedish study.

The researchers tested the effects of traditional acupuncture (TA) and electrostimulated acupuncture (EA) in 31 such men, who were randomized to receive one of these treatments for 12 weeks. TA consisted of 12 needle points; EA consisted of 12 needle points, of which four were electrostimulated.

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Twenty-nine patients completed the study. The number of hot flushes per 24 hours decreased significantly with treatment, declining from a median of 5.7 to 3.4 in the TA group and from 7.6 to 4.1 in the EA group. Distress decreased from 7.6 to 3.4 in the TA group and from 8.2 to 3.3 in the EA group, which translated into a 73% and 78% improvement in “hot flush score,” the authors reported.

“This improvement is “in line with or better than medical regimens for these symptoms,” they concluded. The effects lasted for up to nine months after treatment ended.