Acupuncture/ pressureAsthma/AllergyCommon Cold

Acupuncture for chronic sinusitis. Worth the cost?

It’s commonly used to treat chronic sinusitis, though there’s little documentation for any effect.

Researchers from Norway looked for evidence of improved quality of life.

First, the details.

  • 65 patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments.
    • 2 to 4 weeks of medication with antibiotics, corticosteroids, 0.9% sodium chloride solution, and local decongestants
    • 10 treatments with traditional Chinese acupuncture
    • 10 treatments with minimal acupuncture at non-acupoints
  • Changes in health-related quality of life were assessed over 12 weeks using the Chronic Sinusitis Survey (CSS) and Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaires.

And, the results.

  • There was no difference in symptoms between conventional medical therapy and traditional Chinese acupuncture.
  • On the SF-36 scale, one scale (role-physical) showed a significant change in the conventional treatment group vs the sham group.
  • On the SF-36 mental health scale, there was a significant change in the conventional therapy group vs the traditional Chinese acupuncture group.
  • There was no difference in health-related quality of life between the sham and traditional Chinese acupuncture groups.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “There was no clear evidence of the superiority of one treatment over another on short-term health-related quality of life outcomes, although there was a statistically non-significant advantage of conventional therapy in a few dimensions.”

Earlier research by one of the authors in this study also found no significant improvement with traditional Chinese acupuncture compared to traditional therapy.

In 2006, the average cost of a course of acupuncture treatment for chronic sinus and nasal symptoms was $730 in the US.

8/21/08 20:01 JR

Hi, I’m JR

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.