Acupuncture/ pressureCancerNausea/Vomiting

P6 acupressure for nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients

This study used Pericardium 6 (Neiguan) acupoint (photo) to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

It raises as many questions as it attempts to answer.

First, the details.

  • Patients were randomly assigned to acupressure applied using wristbands (Sea-Band) for the 5 days following chemotherapy or no acupressure.
  • Results are based on 36 patients who completed the study.

And the significant benefits of acupressure.

  • Less nausea and retching experience
  • Less nausea, vomiting, and retching occurrence and distress
  • But there was no difference in vomiting

The bottom line?
The reported benefits with acupressure and acupuncture to reduce nausea and vomiting have been summarized on this blog — here, here, and here.

But based on what’s presented in the abstract of this study, I have some questions.

  • Why are the results limited to those who completed the study (and presumably had the best experience)?
  • Would the findings be significant if all enrolled patients were evaluated (intent-to-treat group)?
  • What was the difference in drug use between groups?
  • It’s not clear why the symptom groupings were used? Why not just report differences in nausea, retching, and vomiting as individual outcomes?

My final question is why does a journal (Complementary Therapies in Medicine) that specializes in CAM research permit authors to write incomplete and misleading abstracts? It’s bad for the researchers’, and the journal’s reputation. And it’s a practice that raises doubt (whether justified or unjustified doesn’t matter) about the results. It makes it easy for critics of CAM to disregard the research.

5/12/07 20:42 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.