Acupuncture reduces post-op nausea and vomiting
Acupuncture or acupressure stimulation of Pericardium 6 (P6), a point on the wrist, is safe and effective for reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting, according to a review of studies appearing in The Cochrane Library for April 14.
The results show that compared with a sham treatment, P6 stimulation reduced nausea by 29 percent, vomiting by 30 percent, and the need for rescue antiemetics - drugs that suppress nausea—by 31 percent, study co-authors Dr. Anna Lee and Dr. Lawrence T. Y. Fan, from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, report.
In a search of two large databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE, and other sources through September 2008, the authors identified 40 trials with 4858 subjects that compared various forms of P6 stimulation with sham treatment in preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting.
Wristband stimulation alone was the most common form of P6 stimulation, and was used in 17 of the studies. These wristbands, the authors note, are the same ones used to prevent seasickness and chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting.
P6 stimulation appeared to be equally effective in adult and pediatric populations, the authors note. Moreover, invasive and noninvasive stimulation were comparable in efficacy.
The researchers also found no clear difference in effectiveness between P6 stimulation and use of antiemetic medications. Nevertheless, they don’t expect one to soon replace the other.
“Generally, physicians and patients are not aware of this type of treatment for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Lee said in a statement. “Translating the evidence from this updated Cochrane review into clinical practice will take time.”
SOURCE: The Cochrane Library, April 14, 2009.
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