New research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme is evaluating acupressure wristbands for the management of chemotherapy-induced acute and delayed nausea. Nausea and vomiting are common side effects experienced by patients receiving chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer. There are a range of anti-nausea and anti-sickness drugs to help with these symptoms, and these are sometimes supplemented with other non-drug treatments, such as acupressure. A major advantage of acupressure is that it has no known side effects and can be integrated safely into all other forms of cancer treatment.

The clinical trial led by Professor Alex Molassiotis of the University of Manchester aims to recruit around 700 patients from cancer clinics in Manchester, Liverpool and Plymouth. Participants will be randomly selected to receive one of three treatments either, self-administered acupressure, wristbands using a flat button on the acupuncture point, or conventional best treatment (antiemetic drugs) over four cycles of chemotherapy.

Researchers will measure the occurrence and intensity of nausea and vomiting during each of the four cycles of chemotherapy treatment and any effect that the wristbands may have in improving quality of life. In addition, the costs of treatment, any potential savings and personal benefits, fewer additional visits to the GP and a lesser impact on everyday life will be considered to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the wristbands.

"Nausea and vomiting are unpleasant side-effects that can cause a loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss and, disruption to the patient's daily life," says Professor Molassiotis. "Previous research has suggested that these wristbands may be beneficial in the management of chemo-induced nausea, but further research is needed to confirm that acupressure is a useful and cost-effective method of treatment that can be used in conjunction with traditional drug therapy."

This trial has been developed as part of the NCRI Cancer Experiences Research Collaborative (

To view the full details of this project visit


1. The HTA programme is a programme of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and produces high quality research information about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest of the NIHR programmes and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 440 issues published to date. The journal's 2007 Impact Factor (3.87) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download free of charge from the website, The HTA programme is coordinated by the NIHR Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment (NCCHTA), based at the University of Southampton.

2. The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.

National Institute for Health Research