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Comment & Response
December 4, 2018

Acupuncture for Aromatase Inhibitor–Related Joint Pain Among Breast Cancer Patients

Author Affiliations
  • 1College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan, China
  • 2Weifang Traditional Chinese Hospital, Weifang, China
JAMA. 2018;320(21):2270. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.16740

To the Editor In an RCT, the authors demonstrated that true acupuncture, compared with sham acupuncture or with waitlist control, resulted in a statistically significant reduction in aromatase inhibitor–related joint pain among women with breast cancer at 6 weeks.1 There are several issues that require comment.

First, acupuncture therapy was scheduled 2 times a week for the first 6 weeks, and the study was based on a 2-point difference between groups to have clinical significance. However, the actual difference was 0.92 points between the true acupuncture group and the sham acupuncture group. Receiving treatment only twice a week does not reflect the practice of traditional Chinese acupuncture and is considered to be inadequate. In another study,2 participants received treatment 3 times a week (preferably every other day) for 6 weeks, a total of 18 times.