Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Feb;198(2):166.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.07.041.


Objective: To investigate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea.

Study design: In a randomized controlled trial plus non-randomized cohort, patients with dysmenorrhea were randomized to acupuncture (15 sessions over three months) or to a control group (no acupuncture). Patients who declined randomization received acupuncture treatment. All subjects were allowed to receive usual medical care.

Results: Of 649 women (mean age 36.1 +/- 7.1 years), 201 were randomized. After three months, the average pain intensity (NRS 0-10) was lower in the acupuncture compared to the control group: 3.1 (95% CI 2.7; 3.6) vs. 5.4 (4.9; 5.9), difference -2.3 (-2.9; -1.6); P<.001. The acupuncture group had better quality of life and higher costs. (overall ICER 3,011 euros per QALY).

Conclusion: Additional acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea was associated with improvements in pain and quality of life as compared to treatment with usual care alone and was cost-effective within usual thresholds.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / economics*
  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dysmenorrhea / economics*
  • Dysmenorrhea / pathology
  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Primary Health Care / economics
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome