Acupuncture performed once daily improved sleep efficiency compared with sham acupuncture among patients with multiple myeloma (MM) undergoing an autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), according to the results of a randomized controlled trial. The results were published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

Wake time after sleep onset (WASO) trended toward improvement, but was not statistically significant between true or sham acupuncture.

The blinded study ( identifier: NCT01811862) randomly assigned 63 patients with MM to receive true or sham acupuncture performed by a licensed acupuncturist for 5 days beginning the day after chemotherapy. Sleep parameters were evaluated using actigraphy-based sleep monitors.

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The primary objective of the study was to preliminarily evaluate the effect of acupuncture on symptoms burden among patients with MM with the goal of determining effect sizes for sample size calculations for future studies. Data from this study that was previously reported suggested that acupuncture improved nausea, appetite, drowsiness, and pain. This exploratory analysis evaluated the effect of acupuncture on sleep.

At baseline, the mean age of the patients was 59 and 37% of patients were male. Inpatient chemotherapy was administered to 57% of patients.

Sleep efficiency significantly improved among patients in the true acupuncture arm, with a decrease of 6.70 compared with the sham arm (95% CI, -13.15 to -0.25; P =.042). The improvement was particularly evident in the inpatient setting, with a difference of -9.62 between the groups (95% CI, -18.76 to -0.47; P =.040).

There was improvement in WASO with true acupuncture with a decrease of 10.95 compared with the sham procedure; however, this was not statistically significant (P =.054). There was no significant difference in the number of awakenings, total sleep time, or sleep-onset latency between the treatment groups.

“Our data suggest that true acupuncture may improve certain aspects of sleep, including sleep efficiency and possibly WASO, in MM patients undergoing HSCT,” the authors concluded.

Disclosures: One of the study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

El Iskandarani S, Sun L, Li SQ, et al. Acupuncture improves certain aspects of sleep in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation patients: a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Acupunct Med. Published online July 6, 2023. doi: 10.1177/09645284231181403