A new study has found that traditional acupuncture can help relieve the adverse side effects of the commonly used drug, tamoxifen. Fifty participants with early breast cancer completed eight traditional acupuncture treatments. Eligible women had been taking tamoxifen for at least six months, and reporting at least four incidents of hot flashes and night sweats per 24 hours for at least three months. Acupuncture reduced the frequency of these unpleasant side effects by half (49.8 percent) in 30 weeks, when the experiment ended.
There were beneficial effects as late as 18 weeks after the end of treatment. The women also experienced improvement in fear and anxiety, loss of memory and concentration, menstrual problems, sexual behavior, sleep problems, etc. Dr. Beverly Devalois and her colleagues in Middlesex, UK, concluded that these results compared favorably with other studies on relieving the side effects of tamoxifen. The women “enjoyed improved physical and emotional well-being.” They called for further research.
I would be interested in hearing from readers on what treatments and self-help measures they have found useful in combating the adverse side effects of tamoxifen.
de Valois BA, Young TE, Robinson N, McCourt C, Maher EJ. Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(10):1047-1057.