Impact of acupuncture on antihistamine use in patients suffering seasonal allergic rhinitis

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) is a common disease that has detrimental effects on the quality of life (QoL) of affected individuals. Approximately 18% of patients try to alleviate their symptoms through acupuncture. The data from 414 patients were analyzed. The acupuncture group used antihistamines significantly less often compared with the other groups (acupuncture vs sham acupuncture: mean difference -4.49 days, p=0.01; acupuncture vs RM: mean difference -9.15 days, p<0.001). Approximately 38% of the acupuncture group did not use any antihistamine in contrast to only 16% in the RM group. The pre-post comparison suggested that the acupuncture patients did not need to increase the days of antihistamine use to alleviate their symptoms, unlike the other groups.

Conclusion: Acupuncture appeared to significantly reduce the number of days of antihistamine use while improving RQoL and SAR symptoms; it can therefore be considered a valuable, additional treatment option for patients with SAR.