For breast cancer survivors whose sleep is compromised by hot flashes, a form of acupuncture is shaping up as a promising alternative to drug therapy.
Electroacupuncture may be as good as — or even better than — the antiseizure medication gabapentin (Neurontin, Pfizer) at improving sleep quality in patients with breast cancer who have nocturnal hot flashes, say researchers.
Preliminary results from a randomized controlled trial in 58 breast cancer survivors show that those treated with electroacupuncture had a significantly greater reduction in total Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score than those who took a daily dose of 900 mg of gabapentin (change of –2.6 vs –0.8; P = .044).
They also had improved sleep latency (–0.5 vs 0.1; P = .041) and sleep efficiency (–0.6 vs 0.0; P = .05) when compared with the group prescribed drug therapy, according to Jun J. Mao, MD, from the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, and colleagues.
The study report was published on November 28 in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society.