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J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Dec;12(10):963-9.

Electroacupuncture for refractory acute emesis caused by chemotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre, Singapore.



To evaluate the efficacy of electroacupuncture in preventing anthracycline-based chemotherapy-related nausea and emesis refractory to combination 5HT(3)-antagonist and dexamethasone.


Cancer patients with refractory emesis after their first cycle of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy were accrued into this study. Electroacupuncture was given during the second cycle of chemotherapy. Each patient was evaluated for the number of emetic episodes and grade of nausea within the first 24 hours after chemotherapy and electroacupuncture.


Forty-seven of a total of 317 patients screened were eligible for this study. Of these, 27 patients agreed to participate. Twenty-six (26; 96.3%) of them had significant reduction in both nausea grade and episodes of vomiting after electroacupuncture. There was complete response with no emetic episodes in 37%. Subjectively, 25 (92.6%) of the total 27 patients believed that acupuncture was an acceptable procedure and was helpful in reducing emesis. Electroacupuncture was well-tolerated with a median pain score of 3 of 10.


Electroacupuncture is well-tolerated and effective as an adjunct in reducing chemotherapy-related nausea and emesis.

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