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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2009 Jan;15(1):12-20.

Acupuncture as an optional treatment for hospice patients with xerostomia: an intervention study.

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Department of Nursing, UmeƄ University, Sweden.


More than 70% of seriously ill patients with cancer suffer from xerostomia and the associated problems of swallowing, chewing and speaking. This study aims to investigate whether treatment with acupuncture is a viable option for hospice patients with xerostomia. During a 2-year period, 117 patients were assessed for xerostomia. Eighty-two patients were found to have moderate xerostomia. Sixty-seven fulfilled the criteria for inclusion. Of these, 14 were included but only eight completed the study. Ten acupuncture treatments were given during a 5-week period. The effect of acupuncture was measured using a visual analogue scale, and by measuring the saliva production before and after the series of treatment. The results show that all the patients experienced alleviation of dryness of the mouth and the associated symptoms, and thus benefited from the acupuncture treatment. However, conducting a 5-week acupuncture intervention study is not feasible at an inpatient hospice due to the patients being too close to death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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