Positive effects of acupressure bands combined with relaxation music/instructions on patients most at risk for chemotherapy-induced nausea
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Research by our group has shown that acupressure bands are efficacious in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea (CIN) for breast cancer patients who expect nausea, and that their effectiveness in controlling CIN can largely be accounted for by patients’ expectations of efficacy, i.e., a placebo effect. The present research examined if the effectiveness of acupressure bands could be enhanced by boosting patients’ expectation of the bands’ efficacy.
Two hundred forty-two chemotherapy-naïve patients with breast cancer who expected nausea were randomized. Arms 1 and 2 received acupressure bands, plus a relaxation MP3 and written handout that were either expectancy-enhancing (arm 1) or expectancy-neutral (arm 2). Arm 3 was the control without bands or MP3 and received standard care. All participants received guideline-specified antiemetics.
Peak CIN for arms 1, 2, and 3 on a 1–7 scale was 3.52, 3.55, and 3.87, respectively (p = 0.46). Because no differences were observed between arms 1 and 2 (primary analysis), we combined these two arms (intervention) and compared them to controls for the following analyses. A significant interaction was found between intervention/control and receiving doxorubicin-based chemotherapy (yes/no) and pre-treatment anxiety (high/low). Intervention patients receiving doxorubicin had lower peak CIN than controls (3.62 vs. 4.38; p = 0.02). Similarly, intervention patients with high pre-treatment anxiety had a lower peak CIN than controls (3.62 vs. 4.62; p = 0.01).
In breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and having high CIN expectation, acupressure bands combined with a relaxation recording were effective in reducing CIN for patients who received doxorubicin or had high anxiety.
KeywordsAcupressure bands Nausea Anxiety Chemotherapy Doxorubicin Breast cancer
This study was supported by the National Cancer Institute (grants R01 AT007474-01A1 and UG1 CA189961).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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