Zheng YH et al, Jnl of Alt and Comp Med, 2013 Sep;19(9):740-5.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
In this RCT 86 overweight PCOS patients were divided into acupuncture or Metformin groups and treated for 6 months before assessing a range of outcomes. While both groups improved, the acupuncture group responded significantly better than those given Metformin in terms of increased frequency of ovulation and weight loss.
Objective: To assess the effectiveness of abdominal acupuncture at the endocrine and metabolic level in patients with obesity-type polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Methods: Eighty-six women from the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical College with a diagnosis of PCOS (body–mass index [BMI] ≥25 kg/m2) were randomly assigned to receive 6 months of abdominal acupuncture (twice a week) or oral metformin (250 mg three times daily in the first week, followed by 500 mg three times daily thereafter).
BMI, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), ovarian volume, menstrual frequency, homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and Ferriman–Gallwey score were measured at the beginning of the study and after 6 months of treatment. Luteotrophic hormone (LH), testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), fasting blood glucose, 2-hour Postprandial blood glucose, fasting insulin, 2-hour postprandial blood insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) were also assessed.
Results: According to the results at baseline and 6 months, BMI, WHR, Ferriman–Gallwey score, ovarian volume, luteotrophic hormone, ratio of luteotrophic hormone to follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone, LDL-C, triglycerides, total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, 2-hour postprandial blood glucose, fasting insulin, 2-hour postprandial blood insulin, and HOMA-IR were reduced significantly in the two groups (p<0.05).
Menstrual frequency and HDL-C (p<0.05) increased significantly in both groups; follicle-stimulating hormone also increased in both groups, but the change was not significant (p>0.05). The acupuncture group showed considerable advantages over the metformin group in terms of reduced BMI and WHR and increases in menstrual frequency (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Abdominal acupuncture and metformin improved the endocrine and metabolic function of patients with obesity-type PCOS. Abdominal acupuncture may be more effective in improving menstrual frequency, BMI, and WHR, with few adverse effects.