Acupuncture relieves nausea due to chemotherapy
Acupuncture, combined with latest drugs seems to relieve chemotherapy-induced vomiting.
Acupuncture, combined with the latest drugs seems to relieve vomiting due to chemotherapy.
Despite the advent of anti-emetics that control nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, many cancer patients still experience these unpleasant side effects, which can impair quality of life, cause emotional distress and aggravate cancer-related symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy and weakness.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health found that the ancient Chinese technique of acupuncture, used to treat a variety of ailments by stimulating specific points on the body, has become increasingly popular for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
The researchers pooled data from 11 trials that looked at the impact of acupuncture-point stimulation on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in more than 1,200 cancer patients. The researchers looked at several types of acupuncture, including electroacupuncture, in which a small electrical current is passed through very thin needles that penetrate the skin; noninvasive electrostimulation of the skin surface using a wristwatch-like device; manual acupuncture - the most well-known type that involves insertion and manual rotation of very fine needles; or acupressure, which involves pressing on the points usually with fingertips.
It was found that 22 percent of patients who underwent acupuncture experienced vomiting the first day after chemotherapy compared with 31 percent of those who did not undergo acupuncture. It was also found that electroacupuncture reduces first-day vomiting, whereas noninvasive electrostimulation of the skin surface does not. Manual acupuncture also appears to be largely ineffective for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting. Acupressure, reduces first-day nausea, but is not effective for delayed symptoms of nausea or vomiting.
In all of the trials included in the analysis, patients received concomitant anti-emetics, and all patients, except those in the electroacupuncture trials, received state-of-the-art drugs such as Ondansetron and Dolasetron mesylate, which are currently recommended for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.
The findings suggest that acupuncture has a biological effect on post-operative nausea and vomiting.
The Cochrane Library,
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