Acupuncture Offers Some Benefit in Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria

However, differences between acupuncture and sham acupuncture, wait-list control did not meet threshold for minimal clinically important difference

By Elana Gotkine (HealthDay News) | November 14, 2023

TUESDAY, Nov. 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), acupuncture produces a greater improvement in the Weekly Urticaria Activity Score (UAS7), although the difference is not clinically significant, according to a study published online Nov. 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hui Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, and colleagues conducted a randomized, sham-controlled trial involving 330 participants diagnosed with CSU at three teaching hospitals in China. Participants were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or a wait-list control over an eight-week study period (four weeks of treatment and four of follow-up).

The researchers found that from baseline to week 4, the mean change in UAS7 was –8.2 for acupuncture (mean score, 23.5 to 15.3). For sham acupuncture and wait-list control, the mean changes in UAS7 from baseline to week 4 were −4.1 and −2.2, respectively. Comparing acupuncture with sham acupuncture and wait-list controls, the mean differences were −4.1 and −6.1, respectively, which did not meet the threshold for minimal clinically important difference. Adverse events, which were mild and transient, were reported in 15 participants (13.6 percent) in the acupuncture group and none in other groups.

"This is the first description of the efficacy of acupuncture in yet another nonpain condition, albeit lacking in clinical importance in terms of the magnitude of the mean difference from baseline," Mike Cummings, M.B.Ch.B., from the British Medical Acupuncture Society in London, writes in an accompanying editorial.

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