Acupuncture improves quality of life for breast cancer patients using aromatase inhibitors
The results build upon earlier findings reported in
"Since many patients experience pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression simultaneously, our results provide an opportunity to offer patients one treatment that may target multiple symptoms," said lead author
In the eight-week trial, researchers evaluated the short-term effects and safety of EA for AI-related joint pain and other side effects, compared with sham acupuncture (SA - a non-electric, placebo acupuncture where the needles are not actually inserted into the skin), and usual care. The study participants, who were all receiving AI therapy and experiencing joint pain, were randomly assigned to receive
• Fatigue: Compared with usual care, patients receiving EA had a greater reduction in the fatigue score at week eight and the effect was maintained at week 12. On average, patients reported a 2.0 point reduction in fatigue on the Brief Fatigue Inventory, an instrument designed to assess fatigue severity on a numerical scale ranging from 0-10.
• Anxiety: By week 12, patients receiving EA reported a significant improvement in their anxiety score, whereas patients receiving SA did not. On average, patients in the EA group reported a 2.2 point reduction in anxiety on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) compared to the usual care group.
• Depression: Patients in both EA and SA groups reported a significant improvement in HADS-Depression scores (2.4 points and 2.0 points, respectively) compared with the usual care group by week eight. The effects of both EA and SA on depression were maintained at week 12.
"Our study provides a novel understanding of how fatigue, sleep and psychological distress relate to pain in patients with AI-related joint pain. More importantly, we found that acupuncture helped reduce these symptoms and the effects persisted for at least four weeks following treatment," said Mao. "There is a small but growing body of literature showing that acupuncture is effective for the management of pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression. However, studies with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods are needed to provide more in-depth knowledge about how these treatments, combined with usual care, are improving quality of life for our patients."
Keywords for this news article include: Oncology, Joint Pain, Orthopedics, Rheumatology, Breast Cancer, Psychological,
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