Acupuncture for palliative cancer pain management

 

Acupuncture for palliative cancer pain management

 

A January 13 2021 article in the British Medical Journal; ‘Supportive & Palliative Care’ described a metanalysis of a number of trials and database searches, which looked at the use of acupuncture as used for the treatment of pain in cancer cases.

Pain is one of the most common and problematic symptoms encountered by patients with cancer. Due to the multifactorial aetiology, pain management of these patients frequently requires multidisciplinary interventions including conventional support and specialty palliative care. Acupuncture has been identified as a possible adjunctive therapy for symptom management in cancer pain, and as there is currently no systematic review which focuses solely on the evidence of acupuncture on cancer pain in palliative care, multiple academic databases were included in the study.

For the research, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving acupuncture in palliative care for treatment of cancer-related pain were bought together and analysed. Data were extracted by two independent reviewers, and methodological quality of each included study was assessed using one of the research ‘gold standards’ for analysis; the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM) 2011 Levels of Evidence.

Five studies (n=189) were included in this systematic review. Results indicated that there was a favourable effect of acupuncture on pain relief in palliative care for patients with cancer. According to OCEBM 2011 Levels of Evidence, they were level 2 in one case (20%), level 3 in two cases (40%) and level 4 in the remaining (40%).

Conclusions: Acupuncture may be an effective and safe treatment associated with pain reduction in the palliative care of patients with cancer. The researchers point out that it would be helpful for further high-quality, adequately powered studies to be conducted in the future.

 

References:

Yang J, Wahner-Roedler DL, Zhou X, Johnson LA, Do A, Pachman DR, Chon TY, Salinas M, Millstine D, Bauer BA. Acupuncture for palliative cancer pain management: systematic review. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2021 Jan 13:bmjspcare-2020-002638. doi: 10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002638. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33441387.

More information: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33441387/

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