Efficacy of acupressure to prevent adverse reactions to anti-tuberculosis drugs: Randomized controlled trials

J Adv Nurs. 2019 Mar;75(3):640-651. doi: 10.1111/jan.13881. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Aim: To determine whether acupressure can prevent or relieve the adverse drug reactions (ADRs) of anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Background: People receiving drug treatment for TB often experience ADRs that may cause them to stop taking their medication. Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that can be applied to alleviate or prevent disease symptoms.

Design: A double-blinded, repeated-measures clinical trial in hospitals in Taiwan was carried out from April 2015 - May 2017.

Methods: Convenience sampling was used to select 32 people (15 for the experimental group and 17 for the control group) aged >20 years who were taking anti-tuberculosis drugs. The people were randomized to receive 4-week of true acupressure and 4-weeks of sham acupressure. Acupressure therapy was given by a researcher in all cases. Both groups received treatment once per day on weekdays, with 15 min for each acupressure session. Outcomes (gastrointestinal irritation and adverse skin reactions) were assessed according to the people feedback and the physicians' recordings during the treatment course, and during monthly follow-up visits for 6 months thereafter.

Results: Both groups typically experienced gastrointestinal irritation and adverse skin reactions within 2 months of beginning anti-tuberculosis drug treatment. The 4-weeks intervention involving relevant acupressure points successfully relieved both types of side effects in both immediate and delayed manner.

Conclusions: When correctly implemented, acupressure can prevent and relieve the ADRs of anti-tuberculosis drugs, and motivate people to complete their treatment course.

Keywords: acupressure; adverse drug reaction; anti-tuberculosis drug; clinical trial; gastrointestinal tract irritation; randomized controlled trial; skin reaction; traditional Chinese medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Eruptions / physiopathology*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / therapy*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Taiwan
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents