Research: DIENER and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 133


DIENER and colleagues, Department of Neurology, University Essen, Essen, Germany, have conducted a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for migraine.


The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of a part-standardised verum acupuncture procedure in the treatment of migraine.


This study was a prospective, randomized, multicentre, double-blind, parallel-group, controlled, clinical trial. The acupuncture procedure was developed in accordance with the rules of traditional Chinese medicine. It was compared with part-standardized sham acupuncture, and also with standard migraine prophylaxis using beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, or antiepileptic drugs. Migraine patients were randomly assigned to verum acupuncture (n=313), sham acupuncture (n=339), or standard therapy (n=308). Patients received ten sessions of acupuncture treatment in 6 weeks or continuous prophylaxis with drugs. Primary outcome was the difference in migraine days between 4 weeks before randomization and weeks 23-26 after randomization.


The primary outcome showed a mean reduction of 2.3 days in the verum acupuncture group, 1.5 days in the sham acupuncture group, and 2.1 days in the standard therapy group. These differences were statistically significant compared with baseline (p<0.0001), but not across the treatment groups (p=0.09). The proportion of responders, defined as patients with a reduction of migraine days by at least 50%, 26 weeks after randomisation, was 47% in the verum group, 39% in the sham acupuncture group, and 40% in the standard group (p=0.133).


Treatment outcomes for migraine do not differ between patients treated with sham acupuncture, verum acupuncture, or standard therapy.


Diener HC  et al. Efficacy of acupuncture for the prophylaxis of migraine: a multicentre randomised controlled clinical trial. Lancet Neurology 5 (4): 310-316, Apr 2006.

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