- Patients with cancer who received acupuncture and/or acupressure, either alone or in combination with analgesics, reported significant decreases in pain intensity and used fewer analgesics and opioids, according to a new meta-analysis.
Why this matters
- Prior research on the effectiveness of acupuncture and acupressure in reducing cancer-related pain have yielded conflicting results, and other systematic reviews have failed to include recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
- This systematic review (17 RCTs; n=1111) and meta-analysis (14 RCTs; n=920) studied the use of acupuncture and acupressure in the management of cancer pain.
- Funding: National Cancer Institute.
- Real vs sham acupuncture was associated with reduced pain intensity:
- Mean difference [MD], −1.38 points (95% CI, −2.13 to −0.64 points; I2, 81%; 7 trials, n=398).
- A favorable association was noted when acupuncture and acupressure were combined with analgesics:
- MD, −1.44 points (95% CI, −1.98 to −0.89; I2, 92%; 6 trials, n=390).
- Acupuncture+analgesics showed reduced morphine equivalent daily dose:
- MD, −30.00 mg morphine equivalent daily dose (95% CI, −37.5 to −22.5 mg; 2 trials).
- The evidence grade was moderate because of the substantial heterogeneity among the studies.
Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm