Acupuncture Cuts Comorbid Symptoms of Cancer Pain
(HealthDay News) — Electroacupuncture (EA) may reduce comorbid symptoms of pain in women with breast cancer who have aromatase inhibitor (AI)-related arthralgia, according to research published online July 30 in Cancer.
Jun J. Mao, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomly assigned 67 postmenopausal breast cancer patients with AI-related joint pain to an eight-week course of EA, waitlist control (WLC), or sham acupuncture (SA). The effects of EA and SA vs. WLC on fatigue, sleep, and psychological distress were evaluated.
The researchers found that baseline pain interference in the breast cancer patients was associated with fatigue (Pearson correlation coefficient [r]=0.75; P<0.001), sleep disturbance (r=0.38; P=0.0026), and depression (r=0.58; P<0.001). Women in the EA group, compared with those in the WLC group, experienced significant reductions in fatigue (P=0.0095), anxiety (P=0.044), and depression (P=0.015) and a nonsignificant reduction in sleep disturbance (P=0.058) during the 12-week intervention and follow-up period. Women in the SA group, compared with those in the WLC group, did not experience significant reductions in fatigue or anxiety but they did have significant reduction in depression (P=0.0088).
"Compared with usual care, EA produced significant improvements in fatigue, anxiety, and depression; whereas SA improved only depression in women experiencing AI-related arthralgia," the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.