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Research: Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)

July 2012
Sham Controlled, Randomised, Feasibility Trial of Acupuncture for Prevention of Radiation-Induced Xerostomia Among Patients with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
European Journal of Cancer, July 2012, Volume 11, Issue 1692, Page 9
BACKGROUND: Xerostomia (dry mouth) after head/neck radiation is a common problem among cancer patients. Quality of life (QOL) is impaired, and available treatments are of little benefit. This trial determined the feasibility of conducting a sham-controlled trial of acupuncture and whether acupuncture could prevent xerostomia among head/neck patients undergoing radiotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: In this small pilot study, true acupuncture given concurrently with radiotherapy significantly reduced xerostomia symptoms and improved QOL when compared with sham acupuncture.

June 2008

Manual Acupuncture Improved Quality of Life in Cancer Patients with Radiation-Induced Xerostomia
Journal: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, June 4, 2008.
Abstract: Purpose: Radiotherapy-induced xerostomia seriously reduces the quality of life (QOL) for patients with head and neck cancer. This study aimed to investigate the effects of manual acupuncture on objective and subjective assessment of symptom changes in patients with cancer who have with radiation-induced xerostomia. Materials and methods: Twelve (12) patients with radiation-induced xerostomia were randomized into 2 groups (real or sham acupuncture). Acupuncture was conducted twice weekly for 6 weeks in a single-blind setting. The effect was evaluated by measuring whole salivary flow rates (stimulated and unstimulated) and questionnaire-based assessment of subjective symptoms pre- and post-treatment (3 and 6 weeks after acupuncture treatment). Results: Both groups showed a slight increase in whole salivary flow rates, with no significant difference between them. However, real acupuncture markedly increased unstimulated salivary flow rates, and improved the score for dry mouth according to the xerostomia questionnaire, by 2.33 points versus 0.33 in the controls. Conclusions: Our results showed the significantly meaningful amelioration of the subjective sensation of xerostomia closely associated with QOL in patients with head and neck cancer treated with irradiation.

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