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Acupuncture effective for cancer-related conditions

Acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer-related pain, report Taiwanese authors. A total of 29 RCTs were included in their meta-analysis. Subanalysis indicated that acupuncture was particularly effective at relieving malignancy-related and surgery-induced pain.

A systematic review from China concludes that acupuncture plus drug therapy is more effective than conventional drug therapy alone for cancer-related pain. Meta-analysis of results from 1,639 participants in 20 RCTs indicated that acupuncture alone did not have superior pain-relieving effects as compared with conventional drug therapy. However, acupuncture plus drug therapy resulted in increased pain remission rates, shorter onset time of pain relief, longer pain-free duration and better quality of life without serious adverse effects compared with the drug therapy alone.

Acupuncture may outperform drug treatment for hot flushes, according to the results of a systematic review from the USA. Five trials compared pharmacological to non-pharmacological treatments for hot flushes in female breast cancer survivors. Acupuncture was found to have similar efficacy to venlafaxine and gabapentin, but its effect lasted longer after the completion of treatment and it caused fewer side effects than the medications.

An international team of authors has concluded that acupuncture and related therapies are effective for symptom management in palliative cancer care. Thirteen RCTs with data from 969 cancer patients were included in their systematic review. Meta-analyses demonstrated that acupuncture and related therapies had a significant effect in terms of reducing pain, and provided quicker and longer analgesic effects in cancer patients when compared with conventional medicine alone. Reductions in fatigue and improvements in quality of life were also seen for acupuncture compared with conventional treatment alone.


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