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Research: Allergies

March 2013
A Multicenter, Randomised, Controlled Trial Testing the Effects of Acupuncture on Allergic Rhinitis
Allergy, March 2013, Volume 68, Issue 4, Pages 365-374
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in the treatment for allergic rhinitis.METHODS: This study was a multicenter, randomized, parallel-controlled study. Participants were randomized to either the active acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or waitlist groups. The active and sham acupuncture groups received acupuncture treatment three times per week for 4 weeks. In the sham group, minimal acupuncture at nonacupuncture points was used. The waitlist group did not receive any acupuncture treatment. CONCLUSION: Active acupuncture showed a significantly greater effect on symptoms of allergic rhinitis than either sham acupuncture or no active treatment. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis decreased significantly after treatment in the both acupuncture and sham acupuncture groups. Acupuncture appears to be an effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis.

April 2010

A Panel Study to Evaluate Quality of Life Assessments in Patients Suffering from Allergic Rhinitis After Treatment with a Chinese Herbal Nasal Drop
Phytotherapy Research, April 2010, Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 609-613
Allergic rhinitis impairs quality of life (QOL). To assess the changes in QOL of patients with perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR) after treatment with Allergic Rhinitis Nose Drops (ARND), 35 patients were divided into 2 groups in a randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled study, with a cross-over arrangement over 7 weeks, applying ARND or placebo. Group A (n = 20) started with ARND first for 2 weeks followed by a 3-week washout before placebo for the last 2 weeks, while Group B (n = 15) started with placebo first and finished with ARND after washout. The changes in Clinical Symptoms Score (CSS) and QOL were observed. A decrease in CSS was observed in patients of both groups after treatment with ARND, but no change was observed with the placebo. Group A patients also showed significant improvements in complexion and sleep (P < 0.05 for both) after treatment with ARND, but no change with the placebo. Group B patients showed significant improvements in appetite and digestion (P < 0.01) as well as joy (P < 0.05) after cross-over treatment with ARND, but no change with the placebo. ARND may have a therapeutic effect by relieving clinical symptoms and improving the QOL in patients with PAR.

November 2008
Acupuncture in Patients with Allergic Rhinitis: A Pragmatic Randomized Trial
Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; November 2008, Volume 101, Issue 5, pages 535-543.
BACKGROUND: Acupuncture is widely used in patients with allergic rhinitis, but the available evidence of its effectiveness is insufficient. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with allergic rhinitis compared with treatment with routine care alone. METHODS: In a randomized controlled trial, patients with allergic rhinitis were randomly allocated to receive up to 15 acupuncture sessions during a period of 3 months or to a control group receiving no acupuncture. Patients who did not consent to random assignment received acupuncture treatment. All patients were allowed to receive usual medical care. The Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and general health-related quality of life (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) were evaluated at baseline and after 3 and 6 months. RESULTS: Of 5,237 patients (mean [SD] age, 40 [12] years; 62% women), 487 were randomly assigned to acupuncture and 494 to control, and 4,256 were included in the nonrandomized acupuncture group. At 3 months, the RQLQ improved by a mean (SE) of 1.48 (0.06) in the acupuncture group and by 0.50 (0.06) in the control group (3-month scores, 1.44 [0.06] and 2.42 [0.06], respectively; difference in improvement, 0.98 [0.08]; P < .001). Similarly, quality-of-life improvements were more pronounced in the acupuncture vs the control group (P < .001). Six-month improvements in both acupuncture groups were lower than they had been at 3 months. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this trial suggest that treating patients with allergic rhinitis in routine care with additional acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits. In addition, it seems that physician characteristics play a minor role in the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment, although this idea needs further investigation.

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