By Kelly Young
Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS
Acupuncture may help ease pain in patients with cancer, according to a meta-analysis in JAMA Oncology.
Researchers analyzed 14 randomized trials comparing acupuncture or acupressure with control therapies (placebo, sham acupuncture, analgesics, usual care) in over 900 cancer patients.
Compared with sham acupuncture, real acupuncture was associated with reduced cancer pain intensity. Pain intensity was also lower for patients who received acupuncture or acupressure plus analgesics, relative to those who received only analgesics.
Two studies found that patients assigned to acupuncture used lower analgesic doses than those who used only analgesics (mean difference, -30 mg morphine equivalent daily dose).
The authors call for “more rigorous trials … to identify the association of acupuncture and acupressure with specific types of cancer pain and to integrate such evidence into clinical care to reduce opioid use.”