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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2006 October;97(5):391-4

language: English

Effect of acupressure on nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy in cancer patients

Gardani G., Cerrone R., Biella C., Mancini L., Proserpio E., Casiraghi M., Travisi O., Meregalli M., Trabattoni P., Colombo L., Giani L., Vaghi M., Lissoni P.

Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Milan, Italy


Aim. Corticosteroids, antidopaminergig agents and 5-HT3 antagonists are the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Acupuncture and acupressure have also appeared to exert antiemetic effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of acupressure in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced vomiting resistant to the standard antiemetic therapies.
Methods. The study included 40 consecutive advanced cancer patients with untreatable chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Colorectal cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer were the neoplasm most frequent in our patients. According to tumour histotype, patients received chemotherapeutic regimens containing the main emetic cytotoxic agents, including cisplatin and athracyclines. Acupressure was made by PC6 point stimulation for at least 6 h/day at the onset of chemotherapy.
Results. The therapeutic approach was well accepted by the overall patients. An evident improvement in the emetic symptomatology was achieved in 28/40 (70%) patients, without significant differences in relation to neither tumor histotype, nor type of chemotherapeutic agent.
Conclusions. This preliminary study seems to suggest that a bioenergetic approach by acupressure on PC6 point may be effective in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced vomiting resistant to the conventional pharmacological strategies, as previously demonstrated for vomiting occurring during pregnancy.

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