Acupuncture helps chemo-induced neuropathy ie peripheral neuropathy caused as a side-effect of chemotherapy, according to researchers from the Christie NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester. In a pragmatic trial, 108 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and experiencing neuropathy, were randomised to have ten weeks of either acupuncture plus usual care, or usual care alone. Acupuncture comprised a weekly 40 minute session, whilst usual care was medication with gabapentin, pregabalin and/or amitriptyline.
At week 10, 68% of cases in the acupuncture group were classified as successfully treated, compared with 33% in the control group. Beneficial outcomes seen in the acupuncture group included clinicians’ grading of neuropathy, cancer-related quality of life and patients’ subjective pain scores. The team concludes that the data from this study has corroborated results from a previous evaluation and other smaller studies, confirming that this cohort of participants benefited from the acupuncture they received. The results also suggest that acupuncture can impact the complex symptom burden associated with this condition, not just the pain. However, sustainability of any improvements in symptoms requires longer follow-up.
(A randomised pragmatic clinical trial of ACUpuncture plus standard care versus standard care alone FOr Chemotherapy Induced peripheral Neuropathy ACUFOCIN). European Journal of Oncology Nursing, October 2022.)