Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: evidence for effectiveness is mixed

7 RCTs met the inclusion criteria for this systematic review.

3 RCTs failed to show superiority of acupuncture for treating or preventing symptoms for seasonal allergic rhinitis (AR) compared with placebo acupuncture.

For perennial AR, 1 study reported favorable effects of acupuncture on a rhinitis symptoms score and 1 found positive results for a nasal symptoms score compared with placebo acupuncture (n = 152; P = .006)

2 RCTs compared acupuncture with oral pharmacologic medications. Their results were in favor of acupuncture.

The authors concluded that the evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for the symptomatic treatment or prevention of AR is mixed.

The results for seasonal AR failed to show specific effects of acupuncture. For perennial AR, results provide suggestive evidence of the effectiveness of acupuncture.


Acupuncture for allergic rhinitis: a systematic review. Myeong S. Lee PhD; Max H. Pittler MD, PhD; Byung-Cheul Shin OMD, PhD; Jong-In Kim OMD, PhD; Edzard Ernst MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPEd. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 2009, vol. 102, no. 4, pp. 269 - 279.
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Image source: Needles being inserted into a patient's skin, Wikipedia, public domain.

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