The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Acupuncture to treat hot flashes in breast cancer

    Professor Ernst and colleagues have reviewed the evidence.

    They’re not convinced. My view is less negative.

    First, the details.

    • They searched for articles comparing real vs sham acupuncture or another active treatment or no treatment.
    • The quality of the studies was assessed using the modified Jadad score (described here).

    And, the results.

    • 3 studies compared manual acupuncture to sham acupuncture.
      • 1 showed favorable effects of acupuncture in reducing hot flash frequency
      • 2 failed to do so.
    • A meta-analysis reported significant differences between acupuncture and sham acupuncture.
    • 1 study reported that hormone therapy was more effective than electroacupuncture.
    • 1 study reported no difference between acupuncture and venlafaxine (Effexor).
    • Another study of acupuncture vs applied relaxation failed to show a significant difference.

    The bottom line?
    It’s a decidedly mixed report card. Although failing to show a difference does not mean the treatment doesn’t work. For example, based on limited data, acupuncture might be an alternative to existing options, such as venlafaxine or hormones.

    I believe the study reported in this review that found acupuncture to be equivalent to venlafaxine is summarized here.

    11/8/08 18:28 JR

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