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Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2014 Jul-Aug;28(4):e152-7. doi: 10.2500/ajra.2014.28.4081.

Ear acupressure for perennial allergic rhinitis: A multicenter randomized controlled trial.

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Traditional & Complementary Medicine Research Program, Health Innovations Research Institute, School of Health Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Victoria, Australia.



Perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR) has a high and increasing prevalence worldwide. Ear acupressure (EAP) is a noninvasive semi-self-administered form of acupuncture. Previous studies indicated that EAP could be effective and safe for AR symptom management. However, there was insufficient evidence to confirm this. This study investigated whether EAP, a noninvasive clinical alternative to acupuncture, is effective and safe for PAR.


This is an international, multicenter, randomized, single-blind, sham-controlled trial. The trial was conducted at two centers: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (Melbourne, Australia) Clinical Trial Clinic and Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China. PAR participants were randomized to receive real or sham EAP treatment once a week for 8 weeks and then were followed-up for 12 weeks. Participants were instructed to administer EAP stimulation three times daily. Symptom severity and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated. Adverse events (AEs) were also monitored. Intention-to-treat analysis on change of symptom scores and QoL was applied.


Two hundred forty-five participants were randomly assigned to real (n = 124) and sham EAP (n = 121) groups. Twenty-five participants discontinued during treatment and 15 participants dropped out during follow-up. At the end of treatment and follow-up periods, changes of global QoL score were significantly greater in the real EAP group compared with the sham group. At the end of follow-up, scores for total nasal symptom, runny nose, and eye symptoms in the real EAP group had a greater reduction compared with the sham group. Overall, both real and sham EAP were well tolerated. Two severe AEs were reported but were not considered related to the EAP procedures.


In conclusion, EAP showed short-term and extended benefit for improving PAR symptoms and QoL for PAR patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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