Acupuncture Efficient for Allergic Rhinitis

Encouraging, though not conclusive - Positive results showing acupuncture may improve allergic rhinitis and reduce anti-histamine use in patients not satisfied with conventional anti-allergic medications or those who suffer from severe side effects.

A randomized, controlled, multi-center trial conducted in Germany and supported by the German Research Fund evaluated the effect of Acupuncture on Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (SAR).  422 persons with SAR and IgE sensitization to birch and grass pollen were divided to 3 groups: Acupuncture plus rescue medication (RM) (Cetirizine) (n = 212), sham acupuncture plus RM (n = 102), or RM alone (n = 108). Twelve treatments were provided over 8 weeks in the first year.

Compared with sham acupuncture and with RM, acupuncture was associated with significant improvement in Rhinitis Quality of Life (RQLQ) score BUT the difference in effect was less pronounced after 16 weeks. In the 2nd year treatment was re-initiated and again the difference became more significant. More research is warranted.

Source:  Benno Brinkhaus, MD et al. "Acupuncture in Patients With Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Trial" Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(4):225-234. 



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