Remy R. Coeytaux, MD, PhD; Jongbae J. Park, DKM, PhD, LAc
Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Financial Support: Dr. Park was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health (award K12DE022793).
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M13-0016.
Requests for Single Reprints: Remy R. Coeytaux, MD, PhD, Duke Evidence-based Practice Center, Duke Clinical Research Institute, PO Box 17969, Durham, NC 27715.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Coeytaux: Duke Evidence-based Practice Center, Duke Clinical Research Institute, PO Box 17969, Durham, NC 27715.
Dr. Park: UNC Memorial Hospital, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, CB 7200, Room N1108, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7200.
Coeytaux R., Park J.; Acupuncture Research in the Era of Comparative Effectiveness Research. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:287-288. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-4-201302190-00010
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(4):287-288.
In this issue, Brinkhaus and colleagues (1) evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). They enrolled 422 individuals with SAR and IgE sensitization to birch and grass pollen in a multicenter trial in Germany. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 12 acupuncture treatments, 12 sham acupuncture treatments, or no acupuncture over 8 weeks between March and July. All patients were permitted to take the antihistamine medication cetirizine as a rescue medication, as well as an oral corticosteroid if symptoms were not adequately controlled with cetirizine. At the primary end point (8 weeks after randomization), the investigators found that acupuncture was associated with improvements of 0.7 point on the Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire and 1.5 points in the rescue medication score compared with no acupuncture and improvements of 0.5 point on the Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire and 1.1 points on the rescue medication score compared with sham acupuncture. A 1-point reduction in the rescue medication score is equivalent to a 10-mg/d reduction in cetirizine intake (2). This study builds on the investigators' earlier studies of acupuncture for SAR, including a pilot study that suggested that a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is superior to both sham acupuncture and placebo (3) and a pragmatic randomized, controlled trial that showed that a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is superior to sham acupuncture and placebo (4). Further evidence in support of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating allergic rhinitis is provided by a recent systematic review that concluded that acupuncture was cost-effective in Germany (5).
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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