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Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation for cancer-related pain management in patients receiving chronic opioid therapy: a randomized clinical trial


The opioid crisis resulting from its use disorder and overdose poses additional challenges for cancer pain management. The American Society of Clinical Oncology Practice Guideline recommends acupuncture therapy for the management of adult cancer-related pain (CRP), but the effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) on CRP remains uncertain.

This 5-week prospective randomized clinical trial was conducted at 2 hospitals in China, and participants with CRP receiving chronic opioid therapy were randomized 1:1 into two groups between December 2014 and June 2018. The true TEAS group underwent 15 sessions of TEAS treatments over 3 consecutive weeks, while the control group received sham stimulation. The primary outcome was the numerical rating scale (NRS) score in the past 24h at week 3. The secondary outcomes included morphine equivalent daily dose, quality of life and adverse events.

A total of 159 participants were included in the modified intention-to-treat population. The baseline characteristics were similar in both groups. The mean NRS scores were 0.98 points at week 3 in the true TEAS group and 1.41 points in the sham group, with the mean difference between groups of -0.43 points (P < 0.001; OR = 0.68, P < 0.05). The proportion of patients with NRS reduction more than thirty percentage at week 3 was 50.00% in the true TEAS group and 35.44% in the sham group (RD = 0.15, P > 0.05; RR = 1.41, P > 0.05). No significant difference in pain intensity between the two groups was observed during the follow-up period without TEAS intervention (week 4, OR = 0.83, P > 0.05; week 5, OR = 0.83, P > 0.05). The Karnofsky Performance Status value suggested that patients in the true TEAS group experienced an improved quality of life (Between-group differences: week 3, 3.5%, P < 0.05; week 4, 4.6%, P < 0.001; week 5, 5.6%, P < 0.001).

The 3-week application of TEAS in patients with CRP receiving chronic opioid therapy resulted in a statistically significant reduction in pain scores, but the observed reduction was of uncertain clinical significance. The prolonged analgesic effect of TEAS was not confirmed in this trial.

Autoren: Lyu Z, Tian S, Bao G, Huang R, Gong L, Zhou J, Kong X, Zhang W, Ran R, Nie N, Liu Y, Ji C, Liu S, Shao X, Kai G, Lin X, Fang J, Liang Y

Journal: Support Care Cancer. 2023 Dec 12;32(1):16. doi: 10.1007/s00520-023-08240-1.

Link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00520-023-08240-1

Häufigste Punkte: L14 (He Gu), PC6 (Nei Guan), ST36 (Zu San Li), SP6 (San Yin Jiao)

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