Randomized, Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for Fatigue in Parkinson's Disease

Mov Disord. 2016 Jul;31(7):1027-32. doi: 10.1002/mds.26597. Epub 2016 Mar 29.


Background: Fatigue is a common and debilitating nonmotor symptom of PD. Because preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture improves fatigue in other conditions, we sought to test its efficacy in PD.

Methods: Ninety-four PD patients with moderate-to-high fatigue were randomized to receive 6 weeks of biweekly real or sham acupuncture. The primary outcome was change on the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale at 6 weeks. Secondary outcomes included sleep, mood, quality of life, and maintenance of benefits at 12 weeks.

Results: Both groups showed significant improvements in fatigue at 6 and 12 weeks, but with no significant between-group differences. Improvements from baseline in mood, sleep, and quality of life were noted without between-group differences. Overall, 63% of patients reported noticeable improvements in their fatigue. No serious adverse events were observed.

Conclusions: Acupuncture may improve PD-related fatigue, but real acupuncture offers no greater benefit than sham treatments. PD-related fatigue should be added to the growing list of conditions that acupuncture helps primarily through nonspecific or placebo effects. © 2016 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; acupuncture; fatigue; randomized, controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / adverse effects
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Aged
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*