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Hong Kong Med J. 2003 Dec;9(6):427-34.

Effect of adding a Chinese herbal preparation to acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: randomised double-blind controlled trial.

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  • 1RMIT Chinese Medicine Research Group, RMIT University, Bundoora West Campus, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia.



To assess whether the addition of a Chinese herbal medicine formula to acupuncture affects the severity of symptoms and quality-of-life scores among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.


Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial.


University teaching and research clinic, Australia.


Sixty-five patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis, who were recruited through public media.


Between July and December 1999, patients received acupuncture twice a week for 8 weeks plus either a Chinese herbal drug formula (n=33) or placebo (n=32) at a dosage of four capsules, three times daily.


The severity of nasal and non-nasal symptoms on a five-point scale, as assessed by both patients and an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and quality-of-life scores as measured by the Rhinoconjunctivitis and Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire.


Sixty-one patients completed the study (31 in the intervention group and 30 in the control group). After 8 weeks, no significant difference was found between the two groups in the severity of nasal and non-nasal symptoms and in the Rhinoconjunctivitis and Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire scores. Intention-to-treat analysis of categorical variables showed moderate-to-marked improvement rates of 72.7% and 81.2% for intervention and control groups, respectively. Six patients reported mild adverse events-three from each of the study groups.


The Chinese herbal formulation under investigation did not provide additional symptomatic relief or improvement in quality-of-life scores among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis who were receiving acupuncture.

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