Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Allergic Rash Relief Beats Antihistamine

healthcmi sp10 xuehai

Acupuncture is effective for treating chronic urticaria of the wind-cold type. The is often referred to as either hives or nettlerash. Researchers from the Huaihua Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine conducted a clinical trial comparing the efficacy of warm needle acupuncture therapy with oral levocetirizine (an antihistamine). The results of the experiment indicate that warm needle acupuncture therapy is significantly effective in improving the clinical symptoms of chronic urticaria of the wind-cold binding exterior type, with no adverse reactions, and is superior to taking oral levocetirizine. [1]

Following the clinical trial’s conclusion, both groups showed improved symptoms. However, the acupuncture treatment group exhibited lower clinical symptom presentation scores and showed better quality of life scores compared with the drug control group. Observational parameters included a symptom scoring system assessing itchiness and wheal number and size, with higher scores indicating greater severity.

The Symptom Score Reduction Index (SSRI) and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) were utilized. Results showed that post-treatment, the warm needle acupuncture group exhibited significantly lower clinical symptom scores (8.0 ±1.1 to 4.7 ±0.61) compared with the control group (7.8 ±1.6 to 5.5 ±0.62), indicating superior efficacy. The acupuncture treatment group demonstrated a higher total effective rate of 87.1% compared with the control group’s total effective rate of 71.0%. Additionally, the acupuncture treatment group showed more cases that were completely cured and those that showed significant improvement. Furthermore, the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) scores post-treatment were notably lower in the treatment group (24.1 ±2.0 to 10.2 ±1.31) than in the control group (22.8 ±1.1 to 14.9 ±2.02), indicating larger improvement in quality of life.

Patients included in the experiment had a disease duration exceeding 3 months. Patients had not taken relevant antihistamines or corticosteroids within 2 weeks before consultation. Those with other diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, or severe liver or kidney diseases were excluded from the study, as were patients who recently used antidepressants or hormone therapy.

The trial included 62 patients randomly assigned into a treatment group and a control group. Each group comprised 31 cases. In the warm needle acupuncture treatment group, there were 14 male patients and 17 female patients who were 19–65 years old, with an average age of 38.6 ±15.2 years; the duration of the disease ranged from 0.5–20 years, with an average course of 11.2 ±9.7 years. In the control group, there were 15 male patients and 16 female patients who were 22–64 years old, with an average age of 37.2 ±14.3 years; the duration of the disease ranged from 0.5–16 years, with an average course of 8.2 ±7.3 years. There were no statistically significant differences in gender, age, and disease course between the two groups.

For patients in the warm needle acupuncture group, the following points received needling therapy while patients took a supine and prone position.

  • LI11 (Quchi)
  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
  • LI4 (Hegu)
  • SP10 (Xuehai)
  • BL17 (Geshu)

Supplementary points:

  • BL12 (Fengmen)
  • BL13 (Feishu)

Needles used were 0.30 mm × 40 mm or 0.30 mm × 50 mm. Upon achieving a deqi sensation, moxa (1 cm in diameter and 3 cm in length) was connected to needle ends to apply warm needle acupuncture. The treatment was given once daily, with 5 sessions constituting one treatment course. There was a 2-day interval between courses.

For the control group, the treatment consisted of orally administered levocetirizine (5 mg capsules). The capsule was taken once daily over a period of three weeks to complete one treatment course. The results of the investigation confirm that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for the alleviation of chronic urticarria. 

[1] Shu Wenna, Liu Wei, Tang Lu, Li Zhaochi, .etc, Clinical Observation of Warm Acupuncture in the Treatment of Chronic Urticaria with Superficies Tightened By Wind-cold Type, Chinese Medicine Modern Distance Education of China, May, 2023.


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