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Myeloma Side Effect- Xerostomia AKA Dry Mouth

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“Now, a new study has shown that acupuncture can relieve the symptoms of dry mouth (known as xerostomia)… The researchers said that the subjective reporting of improvements in xerostomia was of more significance “

I have been living with an incurable blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma (MM) since early 1994. While I am in complete remission from my cancer I live with a number of long-term and late stage side effects from the chemo and radiation I underwent from ’95-’96 including

  • non-cancer pain,
  • nerve damage,
  • brain damage, 
  • heart damage, 
  • difficulty swallowing aka dysphagia
  • and dry mouth to name a few.

While most people think of cancer side-effects they think of nausea,  temporary baldness or fatigue. Collateral damage such as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), and xerostomia (dry mouth) are more serious and life changing.

As you will read from the studies linked and excerpted below, acupuncture is inexpensive, easily available and I can tell you from personal experience that it works!

Acupuncture is just one of the 8 evidence-based, non-conventional therapies that I talk about in the MM CC Program.

I am both a long-term MM survivor and MM cancer coach. The non-conventional therapies guide is one of 12 guides and two e-books that are included in the Multiple Myeloma Cancer Coaching Program. To learn more about the MM CC program, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of research

“There has been an increase in the utilisation of acupuncture in recent years, yet the evidence base is insufficiently well established to be certain about its clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness…

We synthesised the evidence from high-quality trials of acupuncture for chronic pain, consisting of musculoskeletal pain related to the neck and low back, osteoarthritis of the knee, and headache and migraine, involving nearly 18,000 patients. In an individual patient data (IPD) pairwise meta-analysis, acupuncture was significantly better than both sham acupuncture (p < 0.001) and usual care (p < 0.001) for all conditions…”

Acupuncture and Immunity

“In summary, this issue provides different evidence presented by diverse authors covering several topics related to advances in acupuncture for inflammation or immune diseases. As inflammation is the coherent pathophysiologic progress in many kinds of diseases, immune system and response of the human body are influenced in diseases such as cancer; the anti-inflammation effect of acupuncture may be a very important underlying mechanism of acupuncture in treating diseases…”

Acupuncture combined with methylcobalamin for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in patients with multiple myeloma.

“After 84 days (three cycles) of therapy, the pain was significantly alleviated in both groups, with a significantly higher decrease in the acupuncture treated group (P < 0.01)…

The present study suggests that acupuncture combined with methylcobalamin in the treatment of CIPN showed a better outcome than methylcobalamin administration alone…”

Acupuncture relieves symptoms of a dry mouth caused by radiotherapy

“Now, a new study has shown that acupuncture can relieve the symptoms of dry mouth (known as xerostomia)… The researchers said that the subjective reporting of improvements in xerostomia was of more significance than the lack of changes in the objective test with the Schirmer strips…”

A systematic review of the effects of acupuncture on xerostomia and hyposalivation

“Background-Saliva is fundamental to our oral health and our well-being. Many factors can impair saliva secretion, such as adverse effects of prescribed medication, auto-immune diseases (for example Sjögren’s syndrome) and radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. Several studies have suggested a positive effect of acupuncture on oral dryness…

Results-Ten randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of acupuncture were included. Five trials compared acupuncture to sham/placebo acupuncture. Four trials compared acupuncture to oral hygiene/usual care. Only one clinical trial used oral care sessions as control group. For all the included studies, the quality for all the main outcomes has been assessed as low. Although some publications suggest a positive effect of acupuncture on either salivary flow rate or subjective dry mouth feeling, the studies are inconclusive about the potential effects of acupuncture.

Conclusions-Insufficient evidence is available to conclude whether acupuncture is an evidence-based treatment option for xerostomia/hyposalivation. Further well-designed, larger, double blinded trials are required to determine the potential benefit of acupuncture. Sample size calculations should be performed before before initiating these studies.

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