Joint pain is a common side effect of the aromatase inhibitors anastrozole, letrozole and exemestane. These hormone therapy drugs are often prescribed for postmenopausal women with hormone-positive breast cancer.
In December 2017, American researchers presented results from a clinical trial that found that acupuncture may reduce joint pain caused by aromatase inhibitors.
The trial involved 226 postmenopausal women diagnosed with early breast cancer who were taking an aromatase inhibitor. All of the women participating in the trial had been experiencing joint pain that was rated three or higher on a pain scale out of 10. The women were randomly allocated into three groups:
The number of women who had the greatest reduction in their pain (a drop in pain of two or more points) was highest in the group receiving acupuncture (58 per cent) compared to those receiving sham acupuncture (33 per cent) and women receiving no treatment (31 per cent).
If you are taking an aromatase inhibitor and experiencing joint pain, you may like to talk to your doctor about whether acupuncture may be helpful for you.