Thursday, December 18, 2008
One of the best ways to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture is by looking not only at clinical results, but also at potential cost reduction compared to standard medical treatment.
- A study from Spain, published in the June 2007 issue of the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, showed there is a cost benefit to acupuncture treatment in terms of reduced use of analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications.
- A research team led by Jorge Vas, MD, examined the records for 5,981 patients who sought treatment during a nine-year period, in order to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for non-oncological pain.
- In looking at the cost for medications consumed before and after acupuncture treatment, the researchers found the mean difference to be €7.1 (US $9.70) per week, per patient. The greatest cost saving was for patients with headaches, with a mean difference of €26.1 (US $35.70) per week, per patient. The smallest difference was for patients treated for neck pain, with a mean difference of €6.6 (US $9.02) per week, per patient.
- Among the 5,690 patients who completed treatment, the mean success rate was 79.7%, with the highest rates (93%) for patients with headache. The mean reduction in pain intensity amounted to a 67% fall from baseline levels. No severe adverse event was recorded.
In looking at the findings, the researchers concluded: "The favorable response rate obtained for most of the patients, the absence of severe adverse events and the reduction in the consumption of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs all suggest that our experience could profitably be extended to other primary health care clinics for the treatment of nonmalignant pain."