Researchers at the universities of Padova and La Sapienza in Italy, have shown acupuncture can outperform the drug valproic acid in reducing the pain intensity of migraines, but without any of the unpleasant side-effects which accompany use of the drug.
One hundred patients who had been migraine sufferers for in excess of a year, were randomly allocated to receive either twenty acupuncture sessions, or valproic acid at a dose of 600mg per day. Treatment was spread over a six month period, with an interim assessment made at three months. Patients were provided with 10 mg Rizatriptan wafers to treat the attacks if needed. Eighty-two patients completed the study, and both groups showed improvements. At the three month point, the drug group was experiencing a lower pain intensity compared with the acupuncture group. However at the six month point, the acupuncture group reported significantly better pain intensity, pain relief and Rizatriptan use compared to the drug group. Also, the rate of adverse events was 48% in the drug group but 0% in the acupuncture group.
(Acupuncture versus Valproic Acid in the Prophylaxis of Migraine without Aura: A Prospective Controlled Study. Minerva Anestesiologica June 2013)