A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture added to usual treatment for fibromyalgia
Rosa Alves Targino, Marta Imamura, Helena H.S Kaziyama, Luiz P.M. Souza, Wu Tu Hsing, Andréa D. Furlan, Satiko Tomikawa Imamura, Raymundo Soares Azevedo Neto
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for fibromyalgia.
Methods: Fifty-eight women with fibromyalgia were allocated randomly to receive either acupuncture together with tricyclic antidepressants and exercise (n=34), or tricyclic antidepressants and exercise only (n=24). Patients rated their pain on a visual analogue scale. A blinded assessor evaluated both the mean pressure pain threshold value over all 18 fibromyalgia points and quality of life using SF-36.
Results: At the end of 20 sessions, patients who received acupuncture were significantly better than the control group in all measures of pain and in 5 of the SF-36 subscales. After 6 months, the acupuncture group was significantly better than the control group in numbers of tender points, mean pressure pain threshold at the 18 tender points and 3 subscales of SF-36. After one year, the acupuncture group showed significance in one subscale of the SF-36; at 2 years there were no significant differences in any outcome measures.
Conclusion: Addition of acupuncture to usual treatments for fibromyalgia may be beneficial for pain and quality of life for 3 months after the end of treatment. Future research is needed to evaluate the specific effects of acupuncture for fibromyalgia.