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Scientists trial device to treat chemotherapy-related nausea

Trials to test acupressure wrist bands as a drug-free alternative for chemotherapy-related nausea are to take place at the University of Liverpool.

More than 75% of patients undergoing chemotherapy experience nausea, which can impact negatively on their quality of life. Acupressure wrist bands can reduce the symptoms of travel sickness by applying force to the Nei Kuan pressure point on each wrist.

The national study of more than 700 patients, at nine NHS cancer centres, will now measure the cost and clinical effectiveness of acupressure wrist bands in reducing and controlling chemotherapy-related nausea. Led by Professor Mari Lloyd-Williams, from the University's Academic Palliative and Supportive Care Studies Group, the team will analyse a wide range of patients, diagnosed with different types of cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, in order to discover which patient groups would most benefit from the intervention.

Professor Lloyd-Williams said: "Developments in anti-emetic drugs used to combat nausea and vomiting have decreased the symptoms suffered by chemotherapy patients but nausea remains a debilitating and poorly controlled symptom.

"Patients rank nausea and vomiting amongst the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy. In some cases, poorly controlled symptoms can lead to patients choosing to stop potentially curative treatment. These symptoms can contribute towards a loss of social life, prevent people from working, and lead to anxiety and depression.

"If the trials are successful, we should be able to control this debilitating symptom with a drug-free therapy. The wrist bands could potentially help patients to maintain a good quality of life throughout their treatment."

The trial will be the first of its kind to run in the NHS, and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Manchester, Salford University and the University of Plymouth.


Contact: Laura Johnson
University of Liverpool

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