Acupuncture/ pressureCancerNausea/Vomiting

Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

Dr. Ting Bao (photo) from The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland tells us, “Despite recent advances in pharmacologic antiemetic therapy, additional treatment for breakthrough chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is needed.

What about acupuncture?

  • It’s safe with minimal side effects.
  • Several studies suggest it effectively controls chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • A recent meta-analysis of those studies demonstrated that acupuncture significantly reduced the proportion of patients experiencing acute chemotherapy-induced vomiting.
  • However, acupuncture didn’t alleviated acute chemotherapy-induced nausea or delayed its onset.

The bottom line?
Dr. Bao says, “These results were limited by the fact that they predated the use of aprepitant [Emend], and that only 1 or 2 acupuncture points were stimulated during acupuncture treatment.”

Future studies should address these issues.

5/23/09 17:47 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.