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Acupuncture and Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: Positive Impact, Questionable Durability


Acupuncture for patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis was found to be more effective than antihistamine use or a sham intervention.

Among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), an 8-week course of acupuncture resulted in statistically significant improvements in measures of disease-specific quality-of-life and antihistamine use compared with sham acupuncture and with antihistamine use alone.

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, randomly assigned 422 people with SAR to acupuncture plus rescue medication (n=212), sham acupuncture plus rescue medication (n=102), or to rescue mediation alone (n=108). Researchers measured changes in Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire score and in the rescue medication score over 12 weeks of treatment during two allergy seasons 1 year apart.

No differences were observed between the groups after 16 weeks in the first year. After 8 weeks in the second year, small improvements were durable in the group receiving real acupuncture compared with the sham acupuncture group.

In an editorial that accompanied the study, two researchers said the study provides evidence of the effectiveness of “real-world acupuncture.”

The abstract of the study can be read here.

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