Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness and safety of combined treatment using acupuncture and bee venom acupuncture (BVA) as an adjunctive treatment for idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD).
Methods: Eleven patients (7 men and 4 women) with idiopathic PD who had been receiving a stable dose of anti-parkinsonian medication for at least 4 weeks. Participants received conventional treatment for 12 weeks. Subsequently, they received additional treatment with acupuncture and BVA twice weekly for 12 weeks while still maintaining conventional treatment. All participants were assessed at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks by using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), the Parkinson's Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire (PDQL), the speed and number of steps required to walk 20 m, and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Maximum excursion and directional control, measured by computerized dynamic posturography (Balance Master(®) System, NeuroCom, San Carlos, CA), were used to assess postural stability.
Results: Patients who underwent 12 weeks of twice-weekly combined treatment with acupuncture and BVA showed significant improvements in gait speed, PDQL score, activities of daily living (UPDRS part II), motor symptoms (UPDRS part III), and combined UPDRS part II+III scores compared with assessments after conventional treatment.
Conclusions: Combined treatment with acupuncture and BVA showed promising results as a safe adjunctive therapy for PD.