Acupuncture relieves cancer pain due to medication side effects according to new research conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Treatment for multiple myeloma (MM), cancer of plasma cells that affects bone marrow, is treated with the pharmaceutical drug bortezomib. Peripheral neuropathy, damage to peripheral nerves, is a common side effect causing pain in cancer patients taking bortezomib. The new research finds that acupuncture is effective for relieving peripheral neuropathy pain due to bortezomib intake in cancer patients. This finding affects cancer treatments in that bortezomib induced pain is a dose-limiting factor. The researchers conclude, “Acupuncture is a viable treatment option for MM patients experiencing painful BIPN (bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy).”
Patients were given acupuncture at a rate of 1-2 times per week or once every two weeks dependent upon clinical pain reduction responses. Acupuncture needles were retained for a total of 25 minutes per treatment. Points used in the study were: auricular shen men, auricular point zero, two auricular points where electro-dermal signals were detected, LI4 (Hegu), TB5 (Waiguan), LI11 (Quchi) , ST40 (Fenglong) and Bafeng. All patients experienced pain reduction immediately following the first acupuncture visit. No adverse reactions were associated with the acupuncture treatments and patients experienced long lasting pain relief.
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Ting Bao, Lixing Lao, Michelle Medeiros, Ruixin Zhang, Susan G. Dorsey, and Ashraf Badros. Medical Acupuncture. September 2012, 24(3): 181-187. doi:10.1089/acu.2011.0868. The University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. The University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland.