Cochrane Summaries

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Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting which has been induced by having chemotherapy treatment

Ezzo J, Richardson M, Vickers A, Allen C, Dibble S, Issell BF, Lao L, Pearl M, Ramirez G, Roscoe JA, Shen J, Shivnan JC, Streitberger K, Treish I, Zhang G
Published Online: 
16 March 2011

This review looked at whether stimulating acupuncture points could reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Acupuncture points can be stimulated by acupuncture applied with electricity (electroacupuncture), acupuncture without electricity (manual acupuncture), acupressure (pressing on the points usually with fingertip), or electrical stimulation on the skin surface such as wristwatch-like devices. Electroacupuncture reduced first-day vomiting, but manual acupuncture did not. Acupressure reduced first-day nausea, but was not effective on later days. Acupressure showed no benefit for vomiting. Electrical stimulation on the skin showed no benefit. All trials also gave anti-vomiting drugs, but the drugs used in the electroacupuncture trials were not the most modern drugs, so it is not known if electroacupuncture adds anything to modern drugs. Trials of electroacupuncture with modern drugs are needed.