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

    Safety of acupuncture in Germany

    Charite University Medical Center, in Berlin, Germany reports its experience.

    First, the details.

    • 229,230 patients who received acupuncture for chronic osteoarthritis pain of the knee or hip, low back pain, neck pain or headache, allergic rhinitis, asthma, or dysmenorrhea were monitored.
    • They received on average 10 acupuncture treatments.
    • After treatment, all patients reported their adverse events associated with acupuncture.

    And, the results.

    • 9% of patients reported at least one side effect.
    • 2% reported a side effect that required treatment.
    • The most common side effect was bleedings or bruising (ecchymosis; 6% of patients, 58% of all adverse effects).
    • Pain (2%) and vegetative symptoms (insomnia, loss of appetite; 1%) were also reported.
    • 2 patients experienced a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) — 1 needed hospital treatment, the other observation).
    • The longest duration of a side effect was 180 days (nerve lesion of the lower limb).

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Acupuncture provided by physicians is a relatively safe treatment.”

    The incidence of side effects reported in this study is similar to the 10% risk reported 2 years ago by a group of UK doctors, physiotherapists, and acupuncture practitioners.

    Side effects related to acupuncture are less commonly reported in Japan. According to 1 study, bruising was uncommon (17 patients out of more than 65,000). Failure to remove all the needles (27 times) was most commonly reported.

    5/8/09 17:41 JR

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