Preliminary Effectiveness of Auricular Point Acupressure on Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy: Part 2 Laboratory-Assessed and Objective Outcomes

Chao Hsing Yeh, Nada Lukkahatai, Claudia Campbell, Haris Sair, Fengzhi Zhang, Sylvanus Mensah, Courtney Garry, Jing Zeng, Changying Chen, Mariela Pinedo, Mohammad Khoshnoodi, Nancy Perrin, Thomas J Smith, Leorey N Saligan
Pain Management Nursing: Official Journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses 2019 June 14

PURPOSE: To manage chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIN), this paper explores reliable and valid objectives measures to evaluate the treatment effects of auricular point acupressure (APA).

DESIGN/METHOD: This study was a repeated-measures one-group design. Participants received four weeks of APA to manage their CIN. The laboratory-assessed and objective outcomes included quantitative sensory testing, grip and pinch strength, and inflammatory biomarkers. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed-rank tests were conducted to determine change scores of outcomes at pre- vs. post- and pre- vs. 1-month follow-up. Spearman's rho correlation coefficient was used to examine the linear association of score changes of all objective study outcomes.

RESULTS: Comparing pre-and-post APA, (1) the mean score of the monofilament for all lower extremity sites tested decreased after APA, indicating sensory improvement; (2) the suprathreshold pinprick stimuli mean scores on the upper extremities increased, except the scores from the index finger and thumb; (3) the pain tolerance of thumb and trapezius areas increased; (4) decreasing IL1β (p = .05), IFNγ (p = .02), IL-2 (p = .03), IL-6 (p = .05), IL-10 (p = .05), and IP10/CXCL10 (p = .04) were observed pre-post APA. Conditional pain modulation was significantly (p< .05) associated with pain intensity (r = 0.55), tingling (r = 0.59); and IL1β concentration (r = 0.53) pre-post APA. The sustained effects of 4-week APA were observed at the 1-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study findings demonstrated the promising effectiveness of APA in the management of CIN, and these treatment effects can be assessed using reliable and valid objective measures.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: If the efficacy of APA to manage CIN is confirmed in a larger sample, APA has the potential to be a scalable treatment for CIN because it is a reproducible, standardized, and easy-to-perform intervention.

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