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Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis

Taw, Malcolm B.; Reddy, William D.; Omole, Folashade S.; Seidman, Michael D.

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: June 2015 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 216–220
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000161
ALLERGY: Edited by Sandra Y. Lin

Purpose of review Allergic rhinitis has a high prevalence and negatively impacts quality of life. Patients commonly use complementary and integrative modalities to help alleviate their symptoms of allergic rhinitis, with approximately one in five receiving acupuncture. This article reviews the evidence base on the efficacy/effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for allergic rhinitis.

Recent findings Our review of the medical literature from January 2013 through December 2014 revealed that there is research demonstrating efficacy and effectiveness for acupuncture in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, as well as improvement of quality of life and quality-adjusted life-years.

Summary There are high-quality randomized controlled trials that demonstrate efficacy and effectiveness for acupuncture in the treatment of both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. Smaller head-to-head studies also show some preliminary benefit of acupuncture when compared with antihistamines, but these had a variety of methodological limitations. Further studies of higher quality are needed, particularly with a focus on comparative effectiveness research.

aUCLA Center for East-West Medicine, UCLA Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

bIntegrative Healthcare Policy Consortium, Pinecrest Wellness Center

cDepartment of Family Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine

dDepartment of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Henry Ford Health System, Michigan, USA

Correspondence to Folashade S. Omole, MD, Professor and Vice Chair, Academic Affairs, Residency Program Director, Director, Integrative Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, 1513 E. Cleveland Ave, Bldg 100 Suite 300-A, East Point, GA 30344, USA. Tel: +1 404 756 1206; fax: +1 404-752-8682; e-mail:

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