Objective: To evaluate the effect and safety of acupuncture therapy on patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis.
Methods: A non-randomized controlled design was used to compare between the acupuncture group and the medication group. The acupuncture group received 8-week acupuncture therapy, and the medication group received budesonide nasal spray with cetirizine tablets for 8 weeks. The clinical symptoms and signs were analyzed before treatment, at 4 and 8 weeks after the start of treatment, and at 12 weeks after the end of treatment. Furthermore, the clinical efficacy and safety indicators were compared between the two groups.
Results: A total of 76 participants consisting of 38 in each of the two groups were enrolled. The scores of each clinical symptom and sign, including sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, nasal itching, and turbinate edema, and the total scores decreased over time in both groups (all P<0.05); and no difference was found in the scores between the two groups (P>0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in the effective rates of the acupuncture group at 4 and 8 weeks after the start of treatment as well as at 12-week follow-up compared with those of the medication group (83.3% vs. 91.2%, and 94.4 % vs. 85.3%; and 80.6 % vs. 82.4%, all P>0.05). Experimental items including blood routine, urine routine, aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase, urea nitrogen and creatinine were all in the normal reference ranges during the treatment in the acupuncture group.
Conclusions: Acupuncture therapy has a comparable effect to the medication treatment on patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis, and it is safe with no severe adverse effects.
Keywords: acupuncture; allergic rhinitis; non-randomized controlled trial.