Researchers from the University of Manchester conducted a pragmatic, randomized controlled trial comparing acupuncture with enhanced usual care. Three hundred two outpatients with breast cancer participated. The researchers randomly assigned 75 patients to usual care and 227 patients to acupuncture plus usual care. Treatment was delivered by acupuncturists once a week for 6 weeks through needling three pairs of acupoints. The usual care group received a booklet with information about fatigue and its management. Primary outcome was general fatigue at 6 weeks, measured with the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI). Other measurements included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–General quality-of-life scale, and expectation of acupuncture effect. Analyses were by intention to treat.
The researchers found that the fatigue was improved considerably when acupuncture was added to patients’ care as well as improving quality of life.
Link to abstract