Acupuncture Helps Ease Pain, Other Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Study Finds

Acupuncture Helps Ease Pain, Other Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Study Finds
Acupuncture helps to ease the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms, even in people who failed to respond to pharmacological treatment, a study suggests. The study, “Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia: An Open-Label Pragmatic Study on Effects on Disease Severity, Neuropathic Pain Features, and Pain Catastrophizing,” was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Acupuncture, used in traditional Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of tiny needles at specific points in the body. Previous research has suggested that acupuncture can be beneficial for some people with fibromyalgia. “However, there is no clarity on when to recommend a course of treatment with acupuncture, as it is unlikely to be adopted as a continuous treatment. In particular, it is not clear to which kind of patients (i.e., patients not treated with drug treatment and patients refractory to drug treatment) and in which phase of disease severity [it] should be proposed,” the researchers wrote. Researchers tested the efficacy of acupuncture specifically in people with severe and unresponsive fibromyalgia. Patients had a score of 39 or above on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ-R) and a score of 5 or above on the Patient Health Questionnaire 15-item (PHQ15), despite treatment. Both questionnaires are measures of symptom severity, with higher scores reflecting worse symptoms. All study participants had been on an optimal and stable drug therapy for at least three months, consisting of duloxetine (sold as Cymbalta and Irenka; 60 mg/day) and pregabalin (sold as Lyrica; 300 mg/day). However, their disease was unresponsive, meaning all had either failed to respond or were unable to tolerate the therapy. Study participants were treated with ha
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