Acupuncture for neuropathic pain due to bortezomib in a patient with multiple myeloma
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Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterised by an increase in plasma cells, particularly in the bone marrow but also in other organs and systems, and with the abnormal production of immunoglobulin. Bortezomib, a current treatment option, inhibits angiogenesis by proteasome inhibition and is known to be effective in the treatment of MM. Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a common dose-related side effect of bortezomib in patients with MM. We describe a case of PN due to bortezomib treatment which responded dramatically to acupuncture treatment, enabling his bortezomib treatment to continue. The patient was a 74-year-old man with pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in his hands and feet after 22 days of bortezomib treatment given by the haematology clinic. His neuropathic pain score was 8/10. There were no autonomic symptoms. Electroneurophysiological testing confirmed sensorimotor PN. Acupuncture treatment was planned as his neuropathic pain continued. Acupuncture was administered bilaterally to ST36, SP6 and LI4 15 times (every other day in the first five sessions and then twice a week). The numbness, tingling and pain symptoms substantially decreased after the first two treatments. After the 15th session acupuncture treatment was continued once a month. At the end of the sixth month the neuropathic pain assessment score was 0/10. There was no side effect of acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture seems promising as a complementary medical treatment for neuropathic pain from bortezomib-induced PN. Clinical studies involving more cases and electrophysiological studies are necessary to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture.