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05/05/2006 - Acupuncture combined with drugs help chemotherapy-induced vomiting.

News release:

A new report suggests that a combination of Acupuncture and drugs help relieve chemotherapy-induced vomiting.

Acupuncture is becoming more and more popular for people with nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Even with new drugs becoming available many cancer patients can sometimes still be affected by unwanted side effects including weakness, lethargy and weight loss.

The reviews by James P. Swyers Enterprises from Baltimore included several different therapeutic methods of Acupuncture including Acupressure, Electro-Acupuncture, noninvasive Acupuncture using a wristband device and the commonly used manual Acupuncture.

The team found that Acupuncture reduces first-day nausea, however it was not effective for the delayed symptoms of nausea or vomiting.

Based on correlated data from about 11 trials including more than 1,200 cancer patients, 22 percent of Acupuncture patients experienced vomiting the first day after chemotherapy compared with 31 percent of those who did not undergo Acupuncture.

Jeanette M. Ezzo, co-author of the report found that the Electro-Acupuncture reduced the first-day vomiting however the noninvasive electrostimulation of the skin does not. Manual acupuncture appeared to be largely ineffective for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting.

During the trials the patients received concomitant anti-emetics, and all patients, except those receiving Electro-Acupuncture received drugs recommended for chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting such as Zofran and Anzemet.

The investigators stated that it is not known if Electro-Acupuncture adds anything to the most current anti-emetic drugs however they noted that this unknown needs to be studied.

In conclusion, the co-author and colleagues of the report believe that the data from the trials complements that Acupuncture has a biological effect.


AU: Ezzo JM, Richardson MA, Vickers A, Allen C, Dibble SL, Issell BF, Lao L, Pearl M, Ramirez G, Roscoe JA, Shen J, Shivnan JC, Streitberger K, Treish I, Zhang G (2006) Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Reviews 2006 Issue 2 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd Chichester, UK DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002285.pub2