MONDAY, July 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Acupuncture may cut joint pain among postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer and aromatase inhibitor-related pain, according to a study published in the July 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dawn L. Hershman, M.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues evaluated acupuncture for reducing aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain among postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. Participants were randomized to true acupuncture (110 patients), sham acupuncture (59 patients), or waitlist control (57 patients) group.

The researchers found that from baseline to 6 weeks, the mean observed Brief Pain Inventory Worst Pain (BPI-WP) score decreased, indicating reduced pain by 2.05 points in the true acupuncture group, by 1.07 points in the sham acupuncture group, and by 0.99 points in the waitlist control group. For true acupuncture the adjusted difference was significant versus sham acupuncture (P = 0.01) and versus the waitlist (P = 0.01). However, patients in the true acupuncture group experienced more grade 1 bruising versus patients in the sham acupuncture group (P = 0.01).

“Acupuncture was associated with statistically significant reductions in aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain at six weeks, although the magnitude of the improvement was of uncertain clinical importance,” the authors write.

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