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Acupuncture as good as drugs for acute herpetic pain

An Italian RCT has found that acupuncture is as effective as standard drug treatment for acute pain in patients with herpes zoster (HZ). One hundred and two patients were randomised to receive either acupuncture (AC) or standard pharmacological treatment (ST) for four weeks. AC consisted of eight sessions of traditional Chinese acupuncture, administered twice weekly using points including Zhongwan REN-12, Guanyuan REN-4, Quchi L.I.-11, Hegu L.I.-4, Neiting ST-44, Xuehai SP-10, Xingjian LIV-2, Neiguan P-6. Both interventions were judged to be largely effective, with no significant differences observed between groups in terms of response rates or pain scores. Incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia over a one-year follow up period was also similar for both groups. (Acupuncture for the treatment of severe acute pain in Herpes Zoster: results of a nested, open-label, randomized trial in the VZV Pain Study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Jun 5;11(1):46).


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