One of the common side effects of anti-estrogen chemotherapy for cancer patients is hot flashes. Other side affects noted are depression and reduced desire for sex. These side-effects are inevitable and patients usually resort to taking drugs in order to cope with the therapy consequences. Commonly, these side effects are addressed with a treatment using a class of antidepressant drugs known as “selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors” or SSRIs. These anti-depressant drugs are too strong and proven to minimize hot flashes but only provide a short-term relief. The SSRI drugs have side effects and when taken for a prolonged period of time can result to disabilities which might be irreversible for a lifetime.
With the recent American clinical study, acupuncture categorically proved to have no side effects and effective in relieving hot flashes just like SSRIs. Acupuncture has also restored the sex drive of women and enhances well-being. Additionally, acupuncture has longer result in relieving chemotherapy side effects such as hot flashes compared to SSRIs. Acupuncture has been used in treating ailments and illnesses including cancer pain and even help in controlling nausea and vomiting.
In order to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture and SSRI, a group of American researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan has designated 50 patients who will randomly receive acupuncture or SSRI (venlafaxine with brand name Effexor) treatment for the duration of 12 weeks. It was noted that the two groups have positively experienced relief from hot flashes, depression and other symptoms. This observable result only proves that acupuncture is as effective as venlafaxine drugs. But different experiences between the two groups happen two weeks after the start of the treatments where patients administered with venlafaxine had recurring hot flashes while those who received acupuncture has improved significantly.
Adverse effects of SSRI were experienced by patients and recorded 18 occurrences which include symptoms like dry mouth, nausea, anxiety and lightheadedness. The SSRI drugs have known serious interactions with other medications and some food. Patients frequently using SSRI can result to dependence and withdrawal symptoms are experienced when attempting to discontinue the use of the said drugs.
Using acupuncture alternatively has resulted to no adverse side effects. Other patients have regained their sex drive and with enhanced vigor. They feel an improved sense of well-being and clearness of mind. Acupuncture should be given by a qualified practitioner to ensure its effectiveness as well as using only a new set of disposable needles for every patient.