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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5806351, 11 pages
Research Article

Reduced Need for Rescue Antiemetics and Improved Capacity to Eat in Patients Receiving Acupuncture Compared to Patients Receiving Sham Acupuncture or Standard Care during Radiotherapy

1Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
2Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
3Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
4Division of Clinical Cancer Epidemiology, Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden
5Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
6Division of Nursing, Department of Oncology and Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Correspondence should be addressed to Anna Enblom

Received 4 October 2016; Accepted 10 January 2017; Published 8 February 2017

Academic Editor: Oliver Micke

Copyright © 2017 Anna Enblom et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate if consumption of emesis-related care and eating capacity differed between patients receiving verum acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or standard care only during radiotherapy. Methods. Patients were randomized to verum () or sham () acupuncture (telescopic blunt sham needle) (median 12 sessions) and registered daily their consumption of antiemetics and eating capacity. A standard care group () received standard care only and delivered these data once. Results. More patients in the verum ( of 89 patients still undergoing radiotherapy; 82%, Relative Risk (RR) 1.23, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.01–1.50) and the sham acupuncture group ( of 95; 83%, RR 1.24, CI 1.03–1.52) did not need any antiemetic medications, as compared to the standard care group ( out of 63; 67%) after receiving 27 Gray dose of radiotherapy. More patients in the verum ( of 89; 56%, RR 1.78, CI 1.31–2.42) and the sham acupuncture group ( of 94 answering patients; 62%, RR 1.83, CI 1.20–2.80) were capable of eating as usual, compared to the standard care group ( of 63; 39%). Conclusion. Patients receiving acupuncture had lower consumption of antiemetics and better eating capacity than patients receiving standard antiemetic care, plausible by nonspecific effects of the extra care during acupuncture.