Comparison of effectiveness of acupuncture therapy and conventional drug therapy on psychological profile of migraine patients

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. Jan-Mar 2014;58(1):69-76.


Migraine is a painful condition in which patients suffer from recurrent episodes of disabling pain, which could be very severe and can lead to grave psychological disturbances. There is no curative treatment for migraine, but there are various treatment modalities, though, with conflicting reports on their efficacy. This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of electro acupuncture therapy and the conventional drug therapy on the psychological profile of migraneurs based on the assessment of quality of life and disability parameters. Migraneurs (n = 60) were recruited from the Psychiatry and Neurology OPD, Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, Delhi. Following a written consent, migraneurs were randomly allocated into 2 study groups--Group A received 10 sittings of electro acupuncture on selected acupuncture points over a period of 30 days, while for the same duration the Group D received a conventional drug therapy in the form of oral flunarizine 20 mg OD along with paracetamol 500 mg SOS. The patients were assessed twice, before and after completion of the treatment programme (30 days). The quality of life was assessed with WHOQOL BREF (WHO Quality of Life Biomedical Research and Education Foundation) questionnaire and the disability was assessed with MIDAS (Migraine Disability Assessment) questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using repeated measure's ANOVA with Tukey's test. Migraneurs were found to have lower quality of life and higher disability scores but following the treatment regimes, the 2 study groups showed a significant improvement in both the parameters studied. It was however observed, that the acupuncture group showed a better response and was thus found to be more effective as compared to the drug group (P = 0.005 to 0.000). We thus conclude that acupuncture is a better treatment option than the conventional drug therapy in not only relieving the pain of migraine but in also improving the psychological profile in migraneurs. Hence its use should be encouraged as an alternative/adjunct treatment for migraine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroacupuncture*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / psychology
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Young Adult