Acupuncture Outperforms Flunarizine for Migraine Prevention

Researchers from the Acupuncture and Moxibustion department at Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital recently conducted a study for the treatment of migraines.  Their study was conducted with a total of 140 patients through 5 hospitals to treat migraines pro-actively (migraine prophylaxis).  The study was double-dummy, single-blinded, and randomized.

All of the patients included were having recurrent migraines, without aura, and were randomly assigned into 2 treatment groups, one with regular acupuncture and one with sham acupuncture and the generic calcium blocker drug flunarizine.  Acupuncture treatments were offered 3 times per week and the medications were given nightly.

Researchers were primarily looking for reductions in frequency of migraines, however, they also analyzed intensity of the migraines when they happened.  Patients were checked at the beginning of the study, then at week 4 and finally at week 16. 

The study found that the acupuncture group had a significantly higher reduction in frequency of migraines vs. the medication group although reductions in pain of remaining migraines was mild and similar between the two groups.

Further studies should be performed with acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine to replicate what we often see clinically which is not only a reduction in migraine frequency but in intensity/pain as well, ultimately leading to complete remission of symptoms over time.