The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Acupuncture to prevent migraine

    New data since the last review lead the authors of this Cochrane review to conclude, “Acupuncture should be considered a treatment option.”

    First, the details.

    • 22 studies of 4419 participants were included in the review.

    And, the results.

    • 6 studies (including 2 large studies with 401 and 1715 patients) of acupuncture vs no prophylactic treatment or routine care only reported that after 3 to 4 months, acupuncture was associated with higher response and fewer headaches.
    • The only study with long-term follow-up reported no evidence that acupuncture’s effects dissipated up to 9 months after cessation of treatment.
    • Pooled data from 14 studies of “true” acupuncture vs a variety of sham interventions showed no statistically significant benefit with true acupuncture.
    • 4 studies of acupuncture vs proven prophylactic drug treatment reported slightly better outcomes and fewer side effects with acupuncture.
    • 2 small low-quality studies of acupuncture vs relaxation (alone or combined with massage) could not be interpreted reliably.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Available studies suggest that acupuncture is at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects.”

    But does it matter where the needles are placed? How do you explain the lack of difference in response to acupuncture and sham acupuncture? This issue seems to come up repeatedly, as discussed here.

    1/23/09 21:48 JR

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