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Human / Clinical Studies

    Table 4. Clinical Studies of Acupuncture: Vasomotor Symptomsa continued...


    In a randomized controlled trial, 47 cancer patients with moderate to severe fatigue were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group received six 20-minute sessions of acupuncture (n = 15); one group was instructed to use acupressure (n = 16); and the third group, the sham acupressure group (n = 16), was taught to apply pressure in three points unrelated to true acupressure. All three groups continued with the same techniques for 2 weeks. The study concluded that acupuncture was a more effective method than acupressure or sham acupressure.[54]

    In a follow-up study, 302 breast cancer patients were randomly assigned to a 6-week course of either daily acupuncture or usual care enhanced by educational booklets on managing fatigue. Acupuncture significantly reduced fatigue and improved quality of life over that of the "enhanced usual care" group.[55]


    Many studies have reported the effects of acupuncture on radiation-induced xerostomia. The findings from these studies are summarized in Table 5 below.

    Table 5. Clinical Studies of Acupuncture: Radiation-Induced Xerostomiaa

    Reference Citation(s)Type of StudyCondition TreatedNo. of Patients: Enrolled; Treated; ControlbStrongest Benefit ReportedcConcurrent Therapy (Yes/No/ Unknown)dLevel of Evidence Scoree
    CT = controlled trial; No. = number; 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.
    c Strongest evidence reported that the treatment under study has anticancer activity or otherwise 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.
    [56]RCTRadiation-induced xerostomia12; 12; sham: non-active acupuncture points located 2 cm away from real pointsImproved symptomsUnknown1iiC
    [57]RCTRadiation-induced xerostomia38; 20; 18Increased salivary flow ratesUnknown1iiC
    [58]RCTXerostomia21; 11; 10Increased salivary flow ratesUnknown1iiC
    [59]RCTRadiation-induced xerostomia23; 11; 12Increased salivary flow ratesUnknown1iiC
    [59]RCTRadiation-induced xerostomia86; 40; 46Symptoms improvedUnknown1iiC
    [60]RCT with crossoverRadiation-induced xerostomia145; 75; 70Symptoms improvedNo1iiC
    [61]Pilot studyRadiation-induced xerostomia20; 19; noneImproved symptomsUnknown2C
    [62]CTRadiation-induced xerostomia12; 12; noneSymptoms improvedUnknown2C
    [63]CTRadiation-induced xerostomia12; 12; noneSymptoms improvedUnknown2C
    [64]CTRadiation-induced xerostomia18; 18; noneReduced xerostomiaYes (pilocarpine)2C
    [65]CTXerostomia70; 21; noneReduced xerostomiaUnknown2C
    [66]CTXerostomia17; 14; noneIncreased salivary flow ratesUnknown2C
    [67]CTXerostomia20; 20; noneSymptoms improvedUnknown2C
    [68]CTXerostomia17; 10; noneIncreased salivary flow ratesUnknown2C
    [69]Nonconsecutive case seriesXerostomia14; 8 acupuncture; noneSymptoms improvedNo3iiiC
    [9]Nonconsecutive case seriesXerostomia after radiation therapy in patients with cancer13; 13 acupuncture; noneSymptoms improvedYes (not specified)3iiiC

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