Acupuncture May Be Effective for Long-term Migraine Prophylaxis

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Acupuncture May Be Effective for Long-term Migraine Prophylaxis
Anita Slomski, MA
JAMA. 2017;317(16):1615. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.4363

Acupuncture significantly reduced the frequency and severity of migraines without aura, according to a Chinese trial that compared true acupuncture (TA) with 2 control groups—sham acupuncture (SA) and no intervention. The authors of the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, report that the clinical benefit persisted over the 24-week trial.

The 249 participants had migraines without auras 2 to 8 times per month for at least a year. Participants were randomly assigned at a 1:1:1 ratio to 3 groups. The first 2 groups received either TA or SA 30-minute electroacupuncture sessions once a day for 5 consecutive days, followed by a 2-day break, for a total of 4 weeks or 20 sessions. The third group received no intervention but were told they would receive 20 free acupuncture sessions after the trial ended. All patients in the TA and SA groups received acupuncture on 4 acupoints per treatment, but acupuncturists did not perform effective needling in the sham group. Patients were allowed to take only ibuprofen for intolerable pain.

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