Deng, G., Chan, Y., Sjoberg, D., Vickers, A., Yeung, K.S., Kris, M., . . . Cassileth, B. (2013). Acupuncture for the treatment of post-chemotherapy chronic fatigue: a randomized, blinded, sham-controlled trial. Supportive Care in Cancer, 21, 1735–1741.doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-1720-z
To determine if acupuncture reduced cancer-related fatigue (CRF) more effectively than did sham acupuncture.
Patients were randomized to an acupuncture or sham control group. Treatments were given once a week over six weeks. In the acupuncture group, a total of 14 needles were inserted at defined points during each session. The needles were stimulated manually and retained for 20 minutes. Sham needles, used in the control group, were blunt-tipped, moved up inside their handles when pressed against the skin, and did not penetrate the skin. In the control group, sham needles were applied in the same number and using the same technique as were the needles in the acupuncture group. Outcome measures were obtained at two weeks and at one week prior to the start of interventions and again at 42 and 49 days after completion.
Patients were undergoing the transition phase after initial treatment.
The study was a double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled trial.
The study showed that acupuncture had no effect on the symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, or depression.
The study did not demonstrate that acupuncture had an effect on fatigue, anxiety, or depression. The study contributes to a growing body of research that shows conflicting results regarding the effectiveness of this intervention for the management of fatigue. It has been shown that symptoms such as fatigue and anxiety tend to decline over time among patients with cancer. It is unclear if the timing in this study affected the results; symptoms may have declined with or without the intervention.