[Acupuncture in fibromyalgia: a randomized, controlled study addressing the immediate pain response]

Rev Bras Reumatol. Nov-Dec 2014;54(6):431-6. doi: 10.1016/j.rbr.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Sep 23.
[Article in Portuguese]


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of fibromyalgia, considering the immediate response of the visual analogue pain scale (VAS) as its primary outcome.

Methods: Randomized, controlled, double-blind study including 36 patients with fibromyalgia (ACR 1990) selected from the outpatient rheumatology clinic, Santa Casa de Misericórdia, Ponta Grossa, PR. Twenty-one patients underwent an acupuncture session, under the principles of the traditional Chinese medicine, and 15 patients underwent a placebo procedure (sham acupuncture). For pain assessment, the subjects completed a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) before and immediately after the proposed procedure. The mean change in VAS was compared among groups.

Results: The variation between the final and initial VAS values was -4.36±3.23 (P=0.0001) in the treatment group and -1.70±1.55 in the control group (P=0.06). The difference in terms of amplitude of variation of VAS (initial - final VAS) among groups favored the actual procedure (P=0.005). The effect size (ES) for the treatment group was d=1.7, which is considered a large effect. Although small, the statistical power of the sample for these results was very relevant (94.8%).

Conclusion: Acupuncture has proven effective in the immediate pain reduction in patients with fibromyalgia, with a quite significant effect size.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Acupuntura; Chronic pain; Dor crônica; EVA; Fibromialgia; Fibromyalgia; Visual analogue pain scale.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Time Factors