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Cancer Health Center

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Acupuncture (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Human / Clinical Studies

Table 3. Clinical Studies of Acupuncture: Nausea and Vomitinga

Reference Citation(s)Type of StudyCondition TreatedNo. of Patients: Enrolled; Treated; ControlbStrongest Benefit ReportedcConcurrent TherapydLevel of Evidence Scoree
CT = controlled trial; EA = electroacupuncture; No. = number; N/V = nausea and vomiting; RCT = randomized controlled trial.
a Refer to text and theNCI Dictionary of Cancer Termsfor additional information and definition of terms.
b Number of patients treated plus number of patient controls may not equal number of patients enrolled; number of patients enrolled equals number of patients initially considered by the researcher who conducted a study; number of patients treated equals number of enrolled patients who were given the treatment being studied AND for whom results were reported;historical control subjectsare not included in number of patients enrolled.
c Strongest evidence reported that the treatment under study has activity or improves the well-being of cancer patients.
d Concurrent therapy for symptoms treated (not cancer).
e For information about levels of evidence analysis and an explanation of the level of evidence scores, refer toLevels of Evidence for Human Studies of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
fP< .001, low-frequency EA at classical antiemetic acupuncture points daily versus minimal needling at control points with sham EA versus no adjunct needling.
gP< .001, EA versus sham EA.
hP< .001,surface electrodesversus rubber electrodes.
iP< .00059.
jP< .02, acupressure versus acupressure at a sham point.
kP< .05, acupuncture versusnoninvasiveplacebo acupuncture.
lP< .05, acupressure andacustimulationwrist bands versus no treatment.
[26]RCTN/V related to high-dose chemotherapy for breast cancer104; 37; 67 (sham EA or no EA)Less N/V in EA groupfYes (prochlorperazine, lorazepam, and diphenhydramine)1iiC
[24,30,31]RCTN/V from chemotherapy10; 10 EA; 10 sham EA (crossover study)Significantly less N/V than controlgYes (metoclopramide)1iiC
[27]RCTN/V from chemotherapy100 (these patients were used more than once because of nature of crossover study); 27surface electrodes; 11 rubber electrodes; 14 crossover study; 24 transcutaneous electrical stimulation75% achieved considerable benefithYes (metoclopramide,thiethylperazine, prochlorperazine, cyclizine, lorazepam, and steroid)1iiC
[34]RCTN/V from chemotherapy16 (the same 16 patients treated twice in a crossover study); 16 ondansetron plus transcutaneous electrical stimulation; 16 cross-over treatment ondansetron onlySymptom-free patient days: 58.8%iYes (ondansetron)1iiC
[32]RCTN/V from chemotherapy53 enrolled; 38 completed; 38 acupressure; 38 crossover to acupressure at a sham point55% reduction in N/VjYes (antiemetics)1iiC
[36]RCTN/V from high-dose chemotherapy80; 41 acupuncture; 39 noninvasive placebo acupunctureNonekYes (ondansetron)1iiC
[35]RCTN/V from chemotherapy739; 233bilateralacupressure bands and 234transcutaneous electrical stimulationbands; 233 no bands; 39 not evaluableLess N/V in treatment groups than in controllYes (5-HT3 receptorantagonist,prochlorperazine, and/or others)1iiC
[37]RCTN/V from chemotherapy142; 48 acupuncture + vitamin B6 PC6 point injection; 46 vitamin B6; 48 acupunctureFewer emesis episodesYes (diazepam, diphenhydramine, cimetidine, and granisetron)1iiC
[41]RCTN/V from chemotherapy36; 17 acupressure; 19 controlSignificantly lower N/VYes (antiemetics)1iiC
[40]RCTN/V from radiation277; 215; 62Less nauseaYes (antiemetics)1iiC
[38]RCTN/V from moderate to highly emetogenic chemotherapy160; 96; 54Decreased delayed N/V for acupressureYes (anthracycline, cyclophosphamide, and an antiemetic)1iiC
[25]Nonrandomized controlled trialN/V from chemotherapy105; EA at P663%, complete relief, at least 8 hYes (metoclopramide; prednisolone)2C
[25]CTN/V from chemotherapy43; 38 10 Hz EA; 5 sham (crossover subset)8-10 h relief; 32 patients had complete reliefYes (antiemetics)2C
[33]CTN/V from chemotherapy18; 18 acupressure bands; 18 (crossover study-incorrect placement of acupressure bands)Effective for N/VYes (antiemetics: prochlorperazine,metoclopramide, and domperidonesuppository)2C
[29]Nonconsecutive case seriesN/V from chemotherapy26; 26 acupuncture; 51 historical controls-no acupunctureMeanno. of episodes and duration of N/V reducedYes (metoclopramide,dexamethasone,and diphenhydramine)3iiiC
[24]Nonconsecutive case series (pilot study)N/V from chemotherapy15; 15 EA; none12 patients-no symptoms for 8 hYes (antiemetic: metoclopramide)3iiiC
[28,30]Consecutive case studyN/V from chemotherapy40; 40 acupressure8-24 h reliefYes (not specified)3iiC
[42]Consecutive, uncontrolled case seriesN/V from chemotherapy mean no. of emesis 7-327; no controls10 patients had complete response to EA and had no vomitingYes (antiemetics: either ondansetron 8 mg or granisetron 3 mg)3iiiC
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