Hong Kong Med J 2003;9:427-34 | Number 6, December 2003
Effect of adding a Chinese herbal preparation to acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: randomised double-blind controlled trial
CCL Xue, FCK Thien, JJS zhang, W Yang, C Da Costa, CG Li
RMIT Chinese Medicine Research Group, RMIT University, Bundoora West Campus, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
OBJECTIVE. To assess whether the addition of a Chinese herbal medicine formula to acupuncture affects the severity of symptoms and quality-of-life scores among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.
DESIGN. Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial.
SETTING. University teaching and research clinic, Australia.
PARTICIPANTS. Sixty-five patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis, who were recruited through public media.
INTERVENTION. Between July and December 1999, patients received acupuncture twice a week for 8 weeks plus either a Chinese herbal drug formula (n=33) or placebo (n=32) at a dosage of four capsules, three times daily.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. The severity of nasal and non-nasal symptoms on a five-point scale, as assessed by both patients and an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and quality-of-life scores as measured by the Rhinoconjunctivitis and Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire.
RESULTS. Sixty-one patients completed the study (31 in the intervention group and 30 in the control group). After 8 weeks, no significant difference was found between the two groups in the severity of nasal and non-nasal symptoms and in the Rhinoconjunctivitis and Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire scores. Intention-to-treat analysis of categorical variables showed moderate-to-marked improvement rates of 72.7% and 81.2% for intervention and control groups, respectively. Six patients reported mild adverse events––three from each of the study groups.
CONCLUSION. The Chinese herbal formulation under investigation did not provide additional symptomatic relief or improvement in quality-of-life scores among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis who were receiving acupuncture.
Key words: Acupuncture; Clinical trials; Hay fever; Medicine, traditinal; Treatment outcome
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