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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). Sep 6, 1986; 293(6547): 583–584.
PMCID: PMC1341376

Traditional Chinese acupuncture: a potentially useful antiemetic?


Two consecutive studies were undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture as an antiemetic used in addition to premedication with opioids in patients undergoing minor gynaecological operations. In the first study 25 of the 50 patients underwent acupuncture immediately after premedication with 100 mg meptazinol, the rest receiving the drug alone, and in the second 75 patients were allocated randomly to one of three groups: a group receiving 10 mg nalbuphine and acupuncture, a group receiving premedication and dummy acupuncture, and a group receiving premedication alone. Manual needling for five minutes at the P6 acupuncture point (Neiguan) resulted in a significant reduction in perioperative nausea and vomiting in the 50 patients who underwent acupuncture compared with the 75 patients who received no acupuncture. These findings cannot be explained, but it is recommended that the use of acupuncture as an antiemetic should be explored further.

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Selected References

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  • Patrick M, Eagar BM, Toft DF, Sebel PS. Alfentanil-supplemented anaesthesia for short procedures. A double-blind comparison with fentanyl. Br J Anaesth. 1984 Aug;56(8):861–866. [PubMed]
  • Morrison JD, Hill GB, Dundee JW. Studies of drugs given before anaesthesia. XV. Evaluation of the method of study after 10,000 observations. Br J Anaesth. 1968 Nov;40(11):890–900. [PubMed]
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  • Chestnutt WN, Dundee JW. The influence of cyclizine and perphenazine on the emetic effect of meptazinol. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 1986 Jan;3(1):27–32. [PubMed]
  • Lewith GT. Can we assess the effects of acupuncture? Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 May 19;288(6429):1475–1476. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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