A randomised controlled trial conducted in Italy, has found that acupuncture is as good as standard drug treatment for helping the pain of acute herpes zoster (shingles).
A total of 102 patients were randomised to receive either acupuncture or standard drug treatment (comprising as many as several drugs, as required), for four weeks. The acupuncture was administered twice per week. Both treatments were judged to be effective with no significant differences between the two groups as measured by response rates and pain scores. The authors conclude that given the reduced likelihood of cumulative drug toxicity in patients receiving acupuncture, this option is promising for future treatment of acute shingles pain.
(Acupuncture for the Treatment of Severe Acute Pain in Herpes Zoster: Results of a Nested, Open-label, Randomised Trial in the VZV Pain Study. BMC Complementary & Altern Medicine, June 2011.)