Objectives. Some chemotherapy drugs can damage the nerves and cause peripheral neuropathy which is accompanied by severe neuropathic pain or gait impairment. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and the safety of acupuncture for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy following chemotherapy in Korean breast cancer patients.
Design. This study was a prospective single-arm observational study using before and after measurements in breast cancer patients presenting with taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy. Settings/Location. This study was performed at East-West Medical Center at Daegu Catholic University Hospital, Daegu, South Korea. Interventions. Acupuncture was administered 3 times a week for 4 consecutive weeks, for 25 ± 5 minutes at each session. Outcome Measures. The primary outcome measure was severity of CIPN using the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory (NPSI) assessed by a self-administered questionnaire and Nerve Conduction Study (NCS) of extremities. The secondary outcome measure was quality of life (QoL) assessed by a self-administered questionnaire using the 36-Item Short From Health Survey (SF-36).
Results. Acupuncture significantly reduced the severity of CIPN assessed by NPSI score. Four weeks after the last treatment, the symptoms were not aggravated. According to NCS, 42.9% of participants showed improvement of sensory neuropathy. At the end of the treatment, SF-36 scores were significantly increased for variables including physical functioning, role limitations due to physical health problems, social functioning, and general health perceptions compared to those of baseline measurement.
Conclusions. Acupuncture improved symptoms of CIPN and QoL in Korean women suffering from peripheral neuropathy after chemotherapy using taxane for breast cancer. The effects of acupuncture lasted for at least 1 month after the treatment.
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