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

Chao Hsing Yeh

Wei-Chun Lin

Lorna Kwai-Ping Suen

Na-Jin Park

Lisa J. Wood

G.J. van Londen

Dana Howard Bovbjerg

acupressure, aromatase inhibitor–induced arthralgia, breast cancer survivors
ONF 2017, 44(4), 476-487. DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.476-487

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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