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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2001 Jun 1;50(2):353-7.

Acupuncture for pilocarpine-resistant xerostomia following radiotherapy for head and neck malignancies.

Author information

1
Radiation Oncology Division, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, CA 92134-1014, USA. pajohnstone@nmcsd.med.navy.mil

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Xerostomia is a frequent and potentially debilitating toxicity of radiotherapy (XRT) for cancers of the head and neck. This report describes the use of acupuncture as palliation for such patients.

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

Eighteen patients with xerostomia refractory to pilocarpine therapy after XRT for head and neck malignancy were offered acupuncture as palliation. All patients are without evidence of cancer recurrence at the primary site. Acupuncture was provided to three auricular points and one digital point bilaterally, with electrostimulation used variably. The Xerostomia Inventory (XI) was administered retrospectively to provide an objective measure of efficacy.

RESULTS:

Acupuncture contributed to relief from xerostomia to varying degrees. Palliative effect as measured by the XI varied from nil to robust (pre- minus post- therapy values of over 20 points). Nine patients had benefit of over 10 points on the XI.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acupuncture reduces xerostomia in some patients who are otherwise refractory to best current management.

PMID:
11380221
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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