HealthDay News — For patients with episodic migraine without aura, undergoing 20 sessions of manual acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and usual care for prophylactic treatment, according to a study published online March 25 in The BMJ.

Shabei Xu, M.D., Ph.D., from the Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial to assess the efficacy of manual acupuncture as prophylactic treatment for acupuncture-naive patients with episodic migraine without aura. Participants included 150 acupuncture-naive patients who underwent 20 sessions of manual acupuncture at true acupuncture points plus usual care, 20 sessions of nonpenetrating sham acupuncture plus usual care, or usual care alone for eight weeks; the analyses included 147 patients.

The researchers found that compared with sham acupuncture, manual acupuncture resulted in a significantly greater reduction in migraine days at weeks 13 to 20 (reduction in mean number of migraine days, 3.5 versus 2.4 for weeks 13 to 16; 3.9 versus 2.2 for weeks 17 to 20) and a significantly greater reduction in migraine attacks at weeks 17 to 20 (reduction in mean number of attacks, 2.3 versus 1.6). There were no reports of severe adverse events.

“When discussing prophylactic treatment strategies with patients, clinicians should provide them with information about acupuncture as an option,” the authors write.


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