HealthDay News — Electroacupuncture and auricular acupuncture are more effective than usual care at reducing chronic musculoskeletal pain in cancer survivors, according to a study published online March 18 in JAMA Oncology.

Jun J. Mao, M.D., from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of electroacupuncture (145 patients) or auricular acupuncture (143 patients) versus usual care (72 patients) for chronic musculoskeletal pain in cancer survivors. Improvement in musculoskeletal pain was assessed at week 12.

The researchers found that electroacupuncture reduced pain severity by 1.9 points and auricular acupuncture reduced severity by 1.6 points from baseline to week 12 compared with usual care. Auricular acupuncture was not noninferior to electroacupuncture. Adverse events were mild, with 10.5 percent of patients receiving auricular acupuncture and 0.7 percent of patients receiving electroacupuncture discontinuing treatments due to adverse events.


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“In this randomized clinical trial of diverse cancer survivors with chronic musculoskeletal pain, electroacupuncture and auricular acupuncture improved pain severity, pain-related functional interference, and quality of life, and reduced analgesic use compared with usual care,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry; one author disclosed ties to the Tibet Cheezheng Tibetan Medicine Co.

Abstract/Full Text