Individualized Acupuncture Could Alleviate Fibromyalgia Pain

Pharmacy Times, August 2016 Pain Awareness, Volume 82, Issue 8

Although fibromyalgia pain can prove difficult to manage, recent study results suggest that individually tailored acupuncture can reduce the intensity of pain experienced by patients with this condition.

Although fibromyalgia pain can prove difficult to manage, recent study results suggest that individually tailored acupuncture can reduce the intensity of pain experienced by patients with this condition.

The study, published in Acupuncture in Medicine, compared individually tailored acupuncture treatment with a simulated treatment in 153 adults, all of whom had been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Both the real and simulated treatments were administered in 9 weekly 20-minute sessions, and the patients continued to take any prescription analgesics and antidepressants.

After 10 weeks, the perceived pain scores of patients treated with individualized acupuncture had decreased by an average of 41% compared with a 27% pain score drop among those who had received simulated treatment. Individualized treatment also led to greater improvements in the overall impact of fibromyalgia compared with simulated treatment at 10 weeks (35% vs 24.5%), 6 months (25% vs 11%), and 12 months (22% vs 5%). The adverse events associated with this treatment were few and mild.

“This treatment produced an improvement in the participants’ condition, reflected by a reduction in pain intensity and enhanced functional capacity and quality of life after the intervention and during the follow-up period,” the study authors wrote. “Such an outcome has not been reported by previous studies following the application of standardized treatments. Therefore, our results suggest that applying individualized treatment algorithms when starting a course of acupuncture may be important.”