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Acupuncture as effective as analgesics in emergency department patients

The world’s largest randomised controlled trial of acupuncture in emergency departments (EDs) has found that acupuncture treatment is safe, acceptable and has an analgesic effect comparable with that of pharmacotherapy.

Among 2,000 patients presenting to EDs in Australia between January 2010 and December 2011, 177 were randomised to receive acupuncture alone, 178 to acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy, and 173 to pharmacotherapy alone. Acupuncture was found to be equivalent and non-inferior to pharmacotherapy in providing analgesia for patients with back pain and ankle sprain.

“Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions,” said lead investigator, Professor Marc Cohen. “But it’s clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received.”

Source of the news (original research report) here.

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