Alternative Medicine is effective in treating Xerostomia

Xerostomia or dry mouth is experienced by approximately 70% of head and neck cancer patients after receiving radiotherapy for their tumors. In the majority of cases, their saliva is no longer useful. Eating becomes a chore as it is very difficult to swallow and taste. Unfortunately, treatment of this condition through traditional medicine may be ineffective in many cases. There is a high percentage of failure and there are many side effects associated with these pharmaceutical agents.

Medical studies confirm the efficacy of Acupuncture treatment of Xerostomia

Acupuncture was found to be effective in treating xerostomia caused by radiotherapy for head and neck malignancy even in cases when xerostomia did not respond to "pilocarpine treatment" through traditional medicine. There were no adverse effects referable to acupuncture. An increased degree of salivation was subjectively present in all cases after acupuncture. Follow-up evaluations revealed that the oral buccal mucosa was moist and saliva present. All patients were capable of expectoration. We recommend that patients be treated with twice-weekly sessions for 1-2 weeks, then every 3- 4 weeks, depending upon the severity of their cases.

The treatment

As published in the medical journal "Cancer" which is referenced below acupuncture treatment for xerostomia is accomplished through inserting needles into the ears and the hands. It is recommended that patients be treated with twice-weekly sessions for 1-2 weeks, then as needed. Additional treatments may be needed every few months depending on the severity of the condition although some patients achieve lasting response

without further therapy. (Cancer 2002;94:1151–6). Medical studies supporting the efficacy of Acupuncture in treating Xerostomia.

1. Bruce, SD. Radiation-induced xerostomia: how dry is your patient? Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2004 Feb;8(1):61-7. Review. Erratum in: Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2004 Apr;8(2):116. PMID: 14983765

2. Johnstone PAS, Peng YP, May BC, Inouye WS, Niemtzow RC. Acupuncture for pilocarpine resistant xerostomia following radiotherapy for head and neck malignancies., Int J Radiat Oncol Bio Phys. Vol 49, No. 4, Jun 2001

3. Wong RK, Jones GW, Sagar SM, Babjak AF, Whelan T. Related Articles, Links A Phase I-II study in the use of acupuncture-like transcutaneous nerve stimulation in the treatment of radiation-induced xerostomia in head-and-neck cancer patients treated with radical radiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2003 Oct 1;57(2):472-80. PMID: 12957259

4. Nieuw Amerongen AV, Veerman EC. Related Articles, Links Current therapies for xerostomia and salivary gland hypofunction associated with cancer therapies. Support Care Cancer. 2003 Apr;11(4):226-31. Epub 2002 Oct 22. Review. PMID: 12673460

5. Niemtzow RC. Complementary and alternative medicine: 24-hour technical support needed? J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Oct;8(5):527-8. PMID: 12470429

6. Brennan MT, Shariff G, Lockhart PB, Fox PC. Treatment of xerostomia: a systematic review of therapeutic trials. Dent Clin North Am. 2002 Oct;46(4):847-56. Review. PMID: 12436835

7. Acupuncture for xerostomia: clinical update. Cancer. 2002 Feb 15;94(4):1151-6. PMID: 11920486 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

8. Johnstone PA, Peng YP, May BC, Inouye WS, Niemtzow RC. Related Articles, Links Acupuncture for pilocarpine-resistant xerostomia following radiotherapy for head and neck malignancies. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2001 Jun 1;50(2):353-7. PMID: 11380221

9. Rydholm M, Strang P. Related Articles, Links Acupuncture for patients in hospital-based home care suffering from xerostomia. J Palliat Care. 1999 Winter;15(4):20-3. PMID: 10693302