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Traditional Acupuncture in Migraine: A Controlled, Randomized Study
Facco E, Liguori A, et al.
Posted: June 2008  
Headache  2008;48:398-407

Objective:   To check the effectiveness of a true acupuncture treatment according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in migraine without aura, comparing it to a standard mock acupuncture protocol, an accurate mock acupuncture healing ritual, and untreated controls.

Background:   Migraine prevalence is high and affects a relevant rate of adults in the productive phase of their life. Acupuncture has been increasingly advocated and used in Western countries for migraine treatment, but the evidence of its effectiveness still remains weak. A large variability of treatments is present in published studies and no acupoint selection according to TCM has been investigated so far; therefore, the low level of evidence of acupuncture effectiveness might partly depend on inappropriate treatment.

Design and Methods:   A prospective, randomized, controlled study was performed in 160 patients suffering from migraine without aura. The patients were divided into the following 4 groups:

  1. group TA, treated with true acupuncture plus Rizatriptan;
  2. group RMA, treated with ritualized mock acupuncture plus Rizatriptan;
  3. group SMA, treated with standard mock acupuncture plus Rizatriptan;
  4. group R, without prophylactic treatment with relief therapy only (Rizatriptan).

Conclusions:   TA was the only treatment able to provide a steady outcome improvement in comparison to the use of only Rizatriptan, while RMA showed a transient placebo effect at 3 months.