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Allergy. 2004 Sep;59(9):953-60.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial.

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1
Department of Medicine I, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with allergic rhinitis (AR) increasingly use complementary medicine. The aim of this study was to determine whether traditional Chinese therapy is efficacious in patients suffering from seasonal AR.

METHODS:

Fifty-two patients between the ages of 20 and 58 who had typical symptoms of seasonal AR were assigned randomly and in a blinded fashion to (i) an active treatment group which received a semi-standardized treatment of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, and (ii) a control group which received acupuncture applied to non-acupuncture points in addition to a non-specific Chinese herbal formula. All patients received acupuncture treatment once per week and the respective Chinese herbal formula as a decoction three times daily for a total of 6 weeks. Assessments were performed before, during, and 1 week after treatment. The change in severity of hay fever symptoms was the primary outcome measured on a visual analogue scale (VAS).

RESULTS:

Compared with patients in the control group, patients in the active treatment group showed a significant after-treatment improvement on the VAS (P = 0.006) and Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (P = 0.015). Improvement on the Global Assessment of Change Scale was noted in 85% of active treatment group participants vs 40% in the control group (P = 0.048). No differences between the two groups could be detected with the Allergic Rhinitis Symptom Questionnaire. Both treatments were well-tolerated.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study suggest that traditional Chinese therapy may be an efficacious and safe treatment option for patients with seasonal AR.

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