Auricular Point Acupressure to Manage Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Arthralgia in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Survivors: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Purpose/Objectives:

To assess the feasibility of auricular point acupressure to manage aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia.

Design:

Wait list control design.

Setting:

Outpatient clinics and oncology center.

Sample:

20 women with aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia.

Methods:

After baseline data were collected, participants waited one month before they received acupressure once per week for four weeks at a convenient time. The baseline data served as the control comparison. Self-reported measures and blood samples were obtained at baseline, at preintervention, weekly during the intervention, and at post-intervention.

Main Research Variables:

The primary outcomes included pain intensity, pain interference, stiffness, and physical function. Inflammatory cytokines and chemokines were tested.

Findings:

After the four-week intervention, participants reported decreases in worst pain and pain interference, and improvements in physical function, cancer-related symptom severity, and interference. The proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines displayed a trend of a mean percentage reduction. The anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-13 increased from pre- to postintervention.

Conclusions:

Auricular point acupressure is feasible and may be effective in managing arthralgia in breast cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing:

Nurses can administer acupressure in clinical settings, which could enhance the management of aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia and contribute to a shift from traditional disease-based biomedical models to a broader, integrative, medical paradigm for managing aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia.

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