Design: A total of 54 women with PCOS were randomly assigned to either the acupuncture group (n=27) or the sham acupuncture group (control, n=27) for a total of 32 treatments over 16 weeks. In the acupuncture group 26 patients and in the control group 20 patients completed the trial.
Outcome measures: Main measures were androgen levels including 17-α-hydroxyprogesterone (17-α-OHP), androstenedione (A2), testosterone (T) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) at 0, 24 and 48 hours after stimulation with a dose of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Other measures included body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, sex hormone levels, etc.
Results: After treatment, there was no significant difference in the main measures between the 2 groups (P > .05), except for the DHEA level at 0 h of HCG stimulation (P = .024) and acne score (P < .05). Comparison within the acupuncture group found that 17-α-OHP and A2 levels at 0 h and DHEA levels at 24 h of HCG stimulation after treatment were significantly decreased (P < .05), whereas T levels at 24 h were significantly increased (P < .05). Comparison within the control group showed 17-α-OHP level at 0 h and 17-α-OHP and A2 and DHEA levels at 24 h after treatment were significantly lower (P < .05). In addition, weight, BMI, HCG and Ferriman-Gallwey score in the acupuncture group and LH/FSH ratio was significantly reduced in the control group.
Conclusion: Traditional EA is slightly more effective than sham acupuncture in reducing DHEA secretion and the acne score.