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Acupuncture for Treating Aromatase Inhibitor–Related Arthralgia in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Purpose: Acupuncture has been used as a complementary medical treatment for arthralgia and other types of pain. The objective of this review is to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of arthralgia in patients with breast cancer who were treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs).

Methods: A literature search was performed, without language restrictions, of 10 databases from their inception through February 2014. The literature reviewed included randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and clinical trials that compared real versus sham acupuncture for the treatment of AI-related musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS). The methodologic quality of these trials was assessed by using the modified Jadad Quality Scale. Meta-analytic software (RevMan 5.0) was used to analyze the data.

Results: Five To compare the effects of real versus sham acupuncture, five RCTs were assessed by meta-analysis and quality analysis. Three of the RCTs reported favorable effects with regard to use of acupuncture in reducing pain and joint-related symptoms, while the other two RCTs did not. The meta-analysis showed trends toward reduced pain and stiffness in patients given acupuncture compared with those who received sham treatment (n=82; pain, mean difference: -2.07 [95% confidence interval (CI), -4.72 to 0.57]; p=0.12; stiffness, mean difference: -86.10 [95% CI, -249.11 to 76.92]; p=0.30), although these differences were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Acupuncture has been reported as a safe and promising treatment for AIMSS, but the present analysis indicated that the effects were not statistically significant. Other outcome measurements, such as imaging studies, would be worth including in future studies to further confirm the efficacy of acupuncture in AIMSS.

Author: Tsai-Ju Chien, MD,1,2 Chia-Yu Liu, MD,1,3,4 Yi-Fang Chang, MD,5,6 Ching-Ju Fang, MLIS,7,* and Chung-Hua Hsu, MD, PhD1,3,4
Quelle: THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE Volume 21, Number 5, 2015, pp. 251–260