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J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Feb;23(2):126-134. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0179. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Combined Acupuncture and Auriculotherapy in Burning Mouth Syndrome Treatment: A Preliminary Single-Arm Clinical Trial.

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1 School of Dentistry, Federal University of Goiás , Goiânia, Brazil .
2 School of Medicine, Federal University of Tocantins , Palmas, Brazil .
3 School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo , Ribeirão Preto, Brazil .
4 School of Medicine, Federal University of Goiás , Goiânia, Brazil .



Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic pain disorder that is difficult to diagnose and refractory to treatment; it is more prevalent in pre- and postmenopausal women. Acupuncture and auriculotherapy have been suggested as options for the treatment of pain because they promote analgesia and allow for the reduction of symptoms with lower doses of drugs; this leads to greater patient compliance with treatment and has a positive effect on quality of life. Clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of BMS are scarce in the literature.


To investigate the effect of combined acupuncture and auriculotherapy on pain management and quality of life in patients with BMS.


Sixty patients with BMS were subjected to a thorough differential diagnosis. Of these, 12 met the inclusion criteria and agreed to participate. Eight patients completed treatment with acupuncture and auriculotherapy using a previously established protocol. The outcome variables were analyzed before and after treatment: pain/burning (visual analog scale; VAS), salivary flow (unstimulated sialometry), and quality of life (Short-Form Oral Health Impact Profile [OHIP-14]). Two-year follow-up was carried out by assessing VAS and OHIP-14.


The intensity of pain/burning decreased significantly after the first treatment sessions, as shown by low values on the VAS (0-2) and a subjective indicator of quality of life (mean = 5.37 ± 3.50). There was no relationship between salivary flow and the intensity of pain/burning. At 2-year follow-up, no statistically significant difference was observed for VAS, but improvement on OHIP-14 was seen.


Combined acupuncture/auriculotherapy was effective in reducing the intensity of burning and improving quality of life. There was no relationship between salivary flow and the intensity of burning mouth. Patients' status improved after acupuncture and auriculotherapy at 2-year follow-up.


acupuncture therapy; auriculotherapy; burning mouth syndrome; pain; quality of life

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