Acupuncture including self acupuncture is associated with long term relief of vasomolor symptoms in cancer patients

Abstract

Introduction Since hormone replacement therapy given tor long periods is now recognised to produce serious side ctTccts. patients with troublesome vasomotor symptoms arc increasingly using non-hormonal treatment including aeupunctnre. Several randomised controlled irials have shown thai acupuncture reduces menopausal symptoms in patients experiencing the normal climacteric. It may have this elTect by raising serotonin levels whieh alter the temperature set point in the hypothalamus. Vasomotor symptoms can be e.xiienie in breast cancer patients and patients with prostate cancer who are undergoing anticaneer therapy. The safety of some herbal medicines and phytoestrogens has been questioned, as they could potentially interfere adversely with the bioavailability of tumouricidal drugs. A previous study reports short term benefit from acupuncture, and the aim of this report is to describe our approach to long term treatment. Acupuncture approach Alter piloting several approaches, six weekly treatments were given initially al L14, TE?. LR3 and SP6 and two upper sternal points, but avoiding any limb with existing lymphoedema or prone to developing it. If there were no contraindications, patients were given clear instructions on how to perform self acuptinctLire using either semi-permanent needles or conventional needling at SP6. weekly for up to six years, for long term maintenance. Audit methods and re.sults A retrospeetive audit of electronic records was carried out by a doctor not involved in ireatment. A total of 194 patients were treated, predominantly with breast and prostate cancer. One hundred and eighly two patients were female. The number of pre-treatment hot (lushes per day was estimated by the patieni: in ihe 159 ca.ses providing adequate records, the mean was 16 flushes per day. Following treatment. \\4{W/<) gained a 3()’/( or greater reduction in hot flushes and 30(217r)a less than f>{)’/f reduction. Treatment was abandoned in ihosc who responded poorly or not at all. The duration of treatment varied from one month lo over six years with a mean duration of nine months. Seventeen patients (9%) experienced minor side efiecis over Ihe six year peri(Ki. mostly minor rashes; one patient described leg swelling bul ihis was likely to be due to a concurrent fracture. Conclusion Acupuncture including self acupuncture is associated with long term relief of vasomolor symptoms in cancer patients. Treatment is safe and costs appear to be low. An algorithm is presented to guide clinical use. We recommend the use of self acupuncture with needles at SP6 in preference It) semipermanent needles in the first instance, but poor responders use indwelling studs if they fail to respond adequately to self acupuncture with regulai” needles. Point location may be of less importance than the overall ‘dose’, and an appropriate ininimum dose may be required to initiate the effect.

 

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2016-07-02T11:16:42+00:00January 28th, 2016|acupuncture, Cancer|0 Comments

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