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Altern Ther Health Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;16(6):30-5. Liu H, Li H, Xu M, Chung KF, Zhang SP.

Examining Acupuncture for Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Detailed Analysis


This review, published in Altern Ther Health Med in November-December 2010, aimed to assess acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The review encompassed twelve studies examining the efficacy of acupuncture compared to carbamazepine (CBZ), a common treatment for TN. However, due to the low quality of these studies, a comprehensive meta-analysis couldn’t be conducted.


Researchers delved into English and Chinese databases to identify randomized controlled studies on acupuncture’s impact on TN. They evaluated the methodological quality of selected studies and analyzed the odds ratios (OR) between treatment and control groups to measure efficacy.


In the twelve studies reviewed, acupuncture was pitted against CBZ with 506 participants in the acupuncture group and 414 in the control group. The studies lacked strong methodological quality, making it challenging to conduct a meta-analysis. Four trials suggested acupuncture was better than CBZ, while eight found no significant difference between the treatment and control groups. Minimal adverse effects were reported in three studies that examined acupuncture.


The review indicates that acupuncture could be as effective as CBZ in treating TN but with fewer reported side effects. However, due to the low quality of the studies analyzed, the evidence is not conclusive. Better-designed studies are necessary to validate acupuncture as a reliable treatment for TN.