Acupuncture for migraine prevention

Headache. 2015 Mar;55(3):470-3. doi: 10.1111/head.12525. Epub 2015 Feb 16.


Background: Migraine is a complex and multifactorial brain disorder affecting approximately 18% of women and 5% of men in the United States, costing billions of dollars annually in direct and indirect healthcare costs and school and work absenteeism and presenteeism. Until this date, there have been no medications that were designed with the specific purpose to decrease the number of migraine attacks, which prompts a search for alternative interventions that could be valuable, such as acupuncture.

Methods: Acupuncture origins from ancient China and encompasses procedures that basically involve stimulation of anatomical points of the body.

Results: This manuscript reviews large and well-designed trials of acupuncture for migraine prevention and also the effectiveness of acupuncture when tried against proven migraine preventative medications.

Conclusion: Acupuncture seems to be at least as effective as conventional drug preventative therapy for migraine and is safe, long lasting, and cost-effective. It is a complex intervention that may prompt lifestyle changes that could be valuable in patients' recovery.

Keywords: acupuncture; alternative medicine; prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Female
  • Flunarizine / therapeutic use
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Topiramate


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose
  • Flunarizine