Efficacy of acupuncture for acute migraine attack: a multicenter single blinded, randomized controlled trial

Pain Med. 2012 May;13(5):623-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2012.01376.x. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


Objective: We aim to investigate the efficacy of acupuncture for acute migraine attacks comparing with sham acupuncture.

Design: The study was designed as a multicenter, single-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trial.

Setting and patients: From March 2007 to February 2009, 150 patients were randomly allocated to verum or sham acupuncture group in a ratio of 1:1.

Interventions: Every patient received a verum or sham acupuncture treatment when having a migraine attack and, medications were allowed if the pain failed to be relieved two hours after the acupuncture.

Outcome measures: The primary outcome was visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain, ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain ever).

Results: The mean VAS scores 24 hours after treatment decreased from 5.7 ± 1.4 to 3.3 ± 2.5 in the verum acupuncture group, and from 5.4 ± 1.3 to 4.7 ± 2.4 in the sham acupuncture group. Significant differences existed between the two groups (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: This trial suggested that verum acupuncture group was superior to sham acupuncture group on relieving pain and reducing the usage of acute medication.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult