Australian researchers have found that acupuncture may help allergic rhinitis by modulating the body’s immune response to house dust mites. They randomised 151 individuals with persistent allergic rhinitis, to receive real, sham or no acupuncture. The intervention groups had sessions twice-weekly for eight weeks. Various cytokines, pro-inflammatory neuropeptides and immunoglobulins were measured in saliva or plasma from baseline to follow-up at four weeks.
Statistically-significant reductions in total IgE and allergen-specific IgE for house dust mite, were observed only in the real acupuncture group. Nasal obstruction, nasal itch, sneezing, runny nose, eye itch and sleep all improved significantly in the real acupuncture group, and continued to improve up to the follow-up at four weeks. The authors report that the results suggest modulation of expression, sensitivity and/or activation of a cellular receptor which plays a central role in our allergic inflammatory response. They conclude that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment modality for patients with allergic rhinitis.
(Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, June 2016.)
The effects of acupuncture are comparable to those of medication in patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis, Chinese researchers have found. In the study, 76 patients received either acupuncture, or budesonide nasal spray (a steroid) plus cetirizine (antihistamine) tablets for a total of eight weeks.
Scores for specific symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose and nasal itching, as well as total symptom scores, decreased in both groups with no sigificant difference between the two. This persisted at 12 week follow-up. The authors conclude acupuncture 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.
(Acupuncture for moderate to severe allergic rhinitis: A non-randomized controlled trial. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, July 2016.)
In addition to the developments reported in my earlier posts on this page, further evidence supporting the use of acupuncture for hay fever, has emerged from researchers in Australia.
The study randomly allocated 175 patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis and confirmed as allergic to rye grass pollen, to receive either true acupuncture or sham acupuncture. The latter consisted of needling superficially at non-acupuncture points. Twelve sessions were given over four weeks during the pollen season in Melbourne. True acupuncture was significantly better at reducing symptom severity, namely sneezing and itchiness, and improving quality of life.
(Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, June 2015.)
A new meta-analysis of 13 research papers which encompassed a total of 2365 participants, suggests acupuncture helps allergic rhinitis. Not only is it safe, but the authors concluded that compared with controls, it lead to a significant reduction in nasal symptoms, medication use and serum IgE levels, coupled with quality of life improvements. The paper was published in the highly-respected American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, along with an accompanying editorial by Dr Jeffrey Suh which points out that complementary medicine has become a popular treatment option for many patients with rhinitis and rhinosinusitis, so it is important that clinicians are aware of its use and potential benefits.
(Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, Jan-Feb 2015.)
The newest guidelines issued in the US to help doctors diagnose and treat allergic rhinitis, say that acupuncture can be suggested to patients who would rather avoid drug treatment. The guidelines, issued by the Academy of Otolaryngology, are timely given that 1 in 6 Americans now suffer from some form of nasal allergy, from hayfever to pet allergy. “What we’re really talking about are allergies that are found all year-round and in every environment, whether urban or rural,” says guideline assistant chair Dr. Sandra Lin, an associate professor in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Overall, the authors consider that acupuncture may help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life for people with perennial allergic rhinitis, and may also help with seasonal allergies, according to several studies.
(The US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health Medline Plus, on-line 2 February 2015.)