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Acupuncture Tied to Improved Symptoms in Breast Cancer Patients Taking Aromatase Inhibitors — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 31, 2014

Acupuncture Tied to Improved Symptoms in Breast Cancer Patients Taking Aromatase Inhibitors

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Acupuncture may help improve fatigue and psychological distress in women with breast cancer who have joint pain related to use of aromatase inhibitors, according to a study in Cancer.

Nearly 70 patients with early-stage breast cancer and arthralgia linked to aromatase-inhibitor treatment were randomized to one of three groups: usual care, sham acupuncture, or electroacupuncture. All participants received education on staying physically active, managing joint pain, and continuing their current medications.

Both acupuncture groups received 10 treatments over 8 weeks. The electroacupuncture group received electrical stimulation through needles inserted around the joint with the most pain. Other needles were inserted in spots intended to alleviate non-pain symptoms. Meanwhile, the sham acupuncture group had non-penetrating needles at non-acupuncture points and no electrical stimulation.

At 12 weeks' follow-up, the electroacupuncture group had significant improvements in scores of fatigue, anxiety, and depression, compared with the usual care group. Sham acupuncture outperformed usual care only for depression.

Reader Comments (1)

Dr. V Kantariya MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

A Dual-Center, double-blind, randomized controlled trial found: "Acupuncture is no better than sharm acupuncture at alleviating side effects from aromatase inhibitors in breast cancer patients" (Cancer vol 120,issue 3,2013),Feel the difference!Should We Worry?

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