Acupuncture May Relieve Side Effect Seen in Breast Cancer Drugs

Acupuncture May Relieve Side Effect Seen in Breast Cancer Drugs

Acupuncture is effective in relieving joint pain, a common side effect seen in a class of drugs used to treat breast cancer, according to a new study. Musculoskeletal symptoms are the most common adverse effects of aromatase inhibitors and can be so severe that they cause some women to stop using the treatment altogether.

Over the course of 6 years, researchers analyzed 226 postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. All were taking aromatase inhibitors and experiencing joint pain. Common aromatase inhibitors include Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane) and Femara (letrozole).

Participants were divided into 3 groups: acupuncture, sham acupuncture and control. Participants in the acupuncture groups received 2 sessions each week for 6 weeks, followed by 1 session per week for 6 weeks. The control group received no interventions.

To determine whether the acupuncture was effective, researchers used the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI). This 14-item questionnaire asked individuals to rate their joint pain over the prior week and the degree to which the pain interfered with activities using a 0- to 10-point scale. For this study, it was the “worst pain” category of the BPI that received the most attention, which signifies the worst pain experienced within a 24-hour time frame. All the women ranked 3 or above before the trial began.

The results, published in JAMA, indicated that the BPI worst pain score for the women in the acupuncture group decreased by an average of 2.05 points, in the sham acupuncture group by 1.07 points, and in the control group by 0.99 points at the 6-week mark.

“Among postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer and aromatase inhibitor–related arthralgias (joint pain), true acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture or with waitlist control, resulted in a statistically significant reduction in joint pain at 6 weeks, although the observed improvement was of uncertain clinical importance,” researchers said.


Alanna McCatty

Alanna McCatty

Alanna McCatty is founder and CEO of McCatty Scholars, an organization that devises and implements financial literacy programs for students to combat the nationwide issue of the loss of educational opportunity due to the ramifications of burdensome student debt. At MedShadow, she reports on new findings and research on the side effects of prescription drugs. She is a graduate of Pace University.


Did you find this article helpful?

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Latest News

Belviq, ActiPatch, Free Samples, Dollar Tree Drugs

Belviq, ActiPatch, Free Samples, Dollar Tree Drugs

We knew it was too good to be true – free and cheap drugs aren’t worth it. Also, taking a magic pill to lose weight could give you cancer (!). One ray of sunshine: a pain therapy device using shortwave is now available over-the-counter. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day! Be…

Flouride, PPIs, Breast Density and Prostate Cancer

Flouride, PPIs, Breast Density and Prostate Cancer

Startling news about fluoride, a study encourages more limites use of PPIs, does knowing the density of your breasts matter, and vegetables aren’t helpful in warding off prostate cancer (darn).  Be Well.  Fluoride and Pregnancy The medical community was shocked at the conclusions of two new studies on fluoride’s effect…

  • Advertisement