News Clipping: Accupressure for Relief of Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

by Katrina Kahl

Acupressure may provide relief from the nausea and vomiting associated with some chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer, according to a study published in the July 2007 edition ofOncology Nursing Forum. For this study, researchers examined whether applying pressure to the P6 pressure point (nei guan, located on the forearm) reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). Other studies have suggested that acupressure to the P6 point is an effective method for reducing CINV.

The current study enrolled 160 women receiving chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer. All of the participants were using chemotherapy regimens associated with a moderate to high amount of vomiting, including cyclophosphamide with or without 5-fluorouracil, doxorubicin with paclitaxel or docetaxel, or 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide. In addition to taking one of these chemotherapy regimens, women were eligible for the study if they were beginning their second or third cycle of chemotherapy, had at least moderate nausea intensity with previous chemotherapy, and had the ability to communicate in English.

Study participants were randomly selected to be in one of the following three groups: those receiving instruction for self-applied acupressure treatment to the P6 point (active treatment group), those receiving instruction for self-applied acupressure treatment to the nonactive S13 point (placebo group), and those receiving no instruction at all (usual care group). All participants were asked to track their nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy and to record any measures taken to control nausea, including medication, in a daily log. The women in the acupressure groups were also asked to track their acupressure use.

The results of the study show that the active treatment group reported a statistically significant larger decline in delayed nausea and vomiting (2-11 days after chemotherapy was administered) compared to the placebo and usual care groups. The researchers conclude that acupressure at the P6 pressure point is a useful addition to medication for the delayed nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment.

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1  Suzanne L. Dibble, et al., “Acupressure for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” Oncology Nursing Forum, 34(4), July, 2007, pp. 813-820.

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