Acupuncture and Allergic Rhinitis

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000161.


Purpose of review: Allergic rhinitis has a high prevalence and negatively impacts quality of life. Patients commonly use complementary and integrative modalities to help alleviate their symptoms of allergic rhinitis, with approximately one in five receiving acupuncture. This article reviews the evidence base on the efficacy/effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for allergic rhinitis.

Recent findings: Our review of the medical literature from January 2013 through December 2014 revealed that there is research demonstrating efficacy and effectiveness for acupuncture in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, as well as improvement of quality of life and quality-adjusted life-years.

Summary: There are high-quality randomized controlled trials that demonstrate efficacy and effectiveness for acupuncture in the treatment of both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. Smaller head-to-head studies also show some preliminary benefit of acupuncture when compared with antihistamines, but these had a variety of methodological limitations. Further studies of higher quality are needed, particularly with a focus on comparative effectiveness research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / therapy*