Electro-acupuncture (EA) can improve chemotherapy-associated insomnia in breast cancer patients as well as helping reduce their use of sleep medication. In the study, 138 breast cancer patients with chemotherapy-associated insomnia were randomly assigned to receive 15 sessions of either active or sham acupuncture over 18 weeks, followed by 24 weeks of follow-up. The active acupuncture treatment consisted of EA applied at body acupoints, along with auricular acupressure. Six acupoints (Sishencong M-HN-1, Baihui DU-20, Shenting DU-24, Neiguan P-6, Taixi KID-3 and Sanyinjiao SP-6) were utilised for treating insomnia, with four additional acupoints selected based on symptoms. Auricular acupressure was applied using vaccaria seeds at three bilateral auricular points (Heart, Shenmen and Sympathetic). The active EA treatment was not superior to the sham control in reducing overall insomnia index severity scores from baseline to six weeks. However, EA resulted in better outcomes at the end of the treatment period and during follow-up in terms of improved sleep onset latency, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, anxiety, depression and quality of life. Participants in the active EA group also demonstrated a significantly higher rate of cessation of sleeping medication use during follow-up than those in the sham control group (56.5% versus 14.3%).
Acupuncture for chemotherapy-associated insomnia in breast cancer patients: an assessor-participant blinded, randomized, sham-controlled trial. Breast Cancer Res. 2023 Apr 26;25(1):49.