Gottschling, S., Reindl, T.K., Meyer, S., Berrang, J., Henze, G., Graeber, S., … Graf, N. (2008). Acupuncture to alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in pediatric oncology—A randomized multicenter crossover pilot trial. Klinische Padiatrie, 220, 365–370.doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1086039
To evaluate the efficacy and acceptance of acupuncture as an additive antiemetic treatment during highly emetogenic chemotherapy (HEC) in pediatric patients with cancer
Patients receiving chemotherapy were randomized to receive antiemetic medication plus acupuncture or antiemetic medication alone.
Acupuncture points were based on the acupuncturists’ decision, until the patient reported a “de Qi” sensation.
Antiemetic rescue medication, number of retching and vomiting episodes, and a short essay of the acupuncture experience were recorded.
This study was conducted in multiple inpatient settings in five German cancer centers.
This was a prospective, randomized, crossover clinical trial pilot study.
An open-form essay was used to document the subjective experience of acupuncture.
In evaluating chemotherapy courses, overall, no significant differences were found in retching or vomiting episodes. In evaluating differences between group 1 and group 2, no significant effect was found with dexamethasone (p = 0.145); however, the acupuncture group was associated with lower phenothiazine medication use (p = 0.001) and less retching and vomiting episodes (p = 0.01).
Acupuncture with baseline antiemetic medication was associated with less phenothiazine use and less retching and vomiting among children receiving HEC.
Acupuncture may provide some relief of retching or vomiting episodes associated with HEC, but the intervention should be used in combination with standard antiemetic treatment.