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Acupuncture May Relieve Fibromyalgia Fatigue, Anxiety

Compared with control procedure, acupuncture improves some symptoms but not others

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture may relieve fatigue and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients more so than a placebo acupuncture-like procedure, according to a report in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

In the partially blinded trial, David P. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., randomized 50 fibromyalgia patients to receive true acupuncture or a well-designed control procedure in which acupuncture was simulated. All patients received treatment every two to four days over a period of three weeks for a total of six sessions. Patients could not tell the difference between the true acupuncture and control.

All fibromyalgia symptoms improved with acupuncture, however, just fatigue and anxiety were statistically significant compared with the control procedure. Patients receiving acupuncture did not report an increased level of activity or physical functioning. True acupuncture reduced participants' Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) scores by 7 points, with the largest difference in mean FIQ scores at one month (42.2 versus 34.8 in the control and acupuncture groups, respectively).

All study patients had previously participated in the Mayo Fibromyalgia Treatment Program, which comprises traditional medical, educational, self-management and occupational/physical therapy components. The improvements found in the new study were additive to those achieved by this program, which also decreased FIQ by 7 points, the authors write.

The magnitude of clinical benefit produced by acupuncture is similar to that reported with pharmacological interventions such as tricyclic antidepressants, fluoxetine, tramadol and acetaminophen, the report indicates.

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