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||Armour, M.; Dahlen, H.G.; Zhu, X.; Farquhar, C.; Smith, C.A.
||The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial
||Type of Study
||AcuTrials; RCT; Menstruation Disturbances; Dysmenorrhea; Women's Health; Gynecology; Acu Versus Acu; Acu Versus CAM Control; Acupuncture; Electroacupuncture; Moxibustion; Indirect Moxibustion; Moxa; TCM Acupuncture Style; Semi-Individualized Acupuncture Protocol; Traditional Diagnosis Based Point Selection; Restricted Modalities; Acupuncture + Other; CAM Control
||OBJECTIVES: We examined the effect of changing treatment timing and the use of manual, electro acupuncture on the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea. METHODS: A randomised controlled trial was performed with four arms, low frequency manual acupuncture (LF-MA), high frequency manual acupuncture (HF-MA), low frequency electro acupuncture (LF-EA) and high frequency electro acupuncture (HF-EA). A manualised trial protocol was used to allow differentiation and individualized treatment over three months. A total of 74 women were randomly assigned to one of the four groups (LF-MA n = 19, HF-MA n = 18, LF-EA n = 18, HF-EA n = 19). Twelve treatments were performed over three menstrual cycles, either once per week (LF groups) or three times in the week prior to menses (HF groups). All groups received a treatment in the first 48 hours of menses. The primary outcome was the reduction in peak menstrual pain at 12 months from trial entry. RESULTS: During the treatment period and nine month follow-up all groups showed statistically significant (p < .001) reductions in peak and average menstrual pain compared to baseline but there were no differences between groups (p > 0.05). Health related quality of life increased significantly in six domains in groups having high frequency of treatment compared to two domains in low frequency groups. Manual acupuncture groups required less analgesic medication than electro-acupuncture groups (p = 0.02). HF-MA was most effective in reducing secondary menstrual symptoms compared to both-EA groups (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: Acupuncture treatment reduced menstrual pain intensity and duration after three months of treatment and this was sustained for up to one year after trial entry. The effect of changing mode of stimulation or frequency of treatment on menstrual pain was not significant. This may be due to a lack of power. The role of acupuncture stimulation on menstrual pain needs to be investigated in appropriately powered randomised controlled trials.
||The National Institute of Complementary Medicine, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia
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