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Acupuncture shows long-lasting effect in patients with dry mouth/xerostomia

Seventy patients with xerostomia due to primary and secondary Sjögren’s syndrome, irradiation and other causes were treated with acupuncture . The patients were between the ages of 33 and 82 and the median duration of xerostomia was 32 months.  

Salivary flow rates for whole unstimulated and stimulated saliva were used as indicators of effects of treatment. Data from 67/70 patients were analyzed 6 months following a baseline course of 24 acupuncture treatments using two-way ANOVA. Patients data up to 3 years were also compared by those who chose to receive additional acupuncture treatment vs those who did not. 

Statistically significant differences in unstimulated and stimulated salivary flow rates (p<0.01) were found in all etiological groups after 24 acupuncture treatments and up to 6 months follow-up compared to baseline. Three years observation of these patients showed that patients receiving additional acupuncture treatment had a consistently higher median salivary flow rate in both unstimulated and stimulated saliva compared to patients who chose not to continue acupuncture.

This study shows that acupuncture treatment results in statistically significant improvements in salivary flow rates in patients with xerostomia up to 6 months. It suggests that additional acupuncture therapy can maintain salivary flow improvement for up to 3 years.

Journal reference:
Blom M, Lundeberg T. Long-term follow-up of patients treated with acupuncture for xerostomia and the influence of additional treatment. Oral Disseases 2000;6:15-24.

Acupuncture stimulates salivary flow in patients with dry mouth (xerostomia)

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