Radiotherapy-induced Emesis in Patients Treated with Acupuncture, Sham Acupuncture or Standard Care: Effects of Unspecific Acupuncture Mechanisms
2010 (English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Background: It is not known if acupuncture or sham reduces radiotherapy-induced emesis more than standard care.
Methods: Cancer patients were randomized to verum (skin penetrating) acupuncture (n = 109) in the alleged antiemetic acupuncture point PC6 or sham acupuncture (n = 106) performed with a telescopic nonpenetrating needle at a sham point during the whole radiotherapy period. The verum and sham treated patients were compared to a reference cohort receiving standard care only (n = 62). All patients received radiotherapy over abdominal or pelvic regions. The occurrence of emesis in each group was compared using replies documented in questionnaires after a mean dose of 27 Gray.
Findings: Nausea (p=0.001) and vomiting were experienced during the preceding week by 37 and 7%, respectively, in the verum group, 38 and 7% in the sham group and 63 and 15% in the standard care group. The nausea intensity in the acupuncture cohort was lower (78% no nausea, 13% a little, 8% moderate, 1% much) compared to the standard care cohort (52% no nausea, 32% a little, 15% moderate, 2% much) (p=0.002). Almost all the verum and sham treated patients (95%) expected antiemetic effects from their treatment. Patients who expected nausea had increased risk for nausea compared to patients who expected low risk for nausea (relative risk 1.6; 95 % confidence interval 1.2-2.4).
Interpretations: Both verum acupuncture and nonpenetrating sham acupuncture seem to reduce nausea and vomiting during radiotherapy, possibly by psychobiological mechanisms related to the extra care and expectancy.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Acupuncture therapy, cancer care, emesis, expectations, placebo
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-17236DiVA: diva2:207695