Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Migraines and Acupuncture January 2007

FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter January 2007


Migraines and Acupuncture

Those people that have ever suffered from migraines know how debilitating they can be. One of the standard prophylactic treatments is metoprolol (toprol). A study was recently done in Germany comparing the effectiveness of toprol to acupuncture for the PREVENTION of migraines.

In a randomized controlled multi-center trial involving 114 patients who experience migraine headaches, treatment with acupuncture over the course of 12 weeks was found to be as effective as standard prophylactic drug therapy for the prevention of migraine headaches. The study began with a 4 week pre-randomization period, in which subjects recorded information about their headaches in a headache diary. Subjects were randomized into one of two groups. Group1 received 8-15 acupuncture treatments over the course of 12 weeks. Group2 received the commonly used, first-line drug for migraine prophylaxis, metoprolol (brand names: Lopressor, Toprol-XL), 100-200 mg/d over the course of the same 12 week period. Subjects were followed up with for an additional 12 weeks following the intervention period. Outcomes were primarily assessed based on the difference in the number of days with migraines before randomization as compared to the number of days with migraine between weeks 9-12 after randomization. While only 2 subjects randomized to acupuncture dropped out of the study, 18 subjects randomized to drug therapy dropped out (7 experienced intolerable side effects, 1 experienced worsening of symptoms, 7 refused to take the drug). The percentage of subjects who experienced at least a 50% reduction in migraine attacks was 61% for subjects who received acupuncture and 49% for subjects who received metoprolol. Furthermore, subjects who received acupuncture experienced a 2.5 day reduction in the number of days with migraines, while subjects who received metoprolol experienced a reduction of 2.2 days.

This research certainly agrees with what we experience at Complementary Medicine. In addition to the acupuncture we add chiropractic care and nutritional support for very good migraine control.


Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith

Complementary Medicine

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