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Important to know: Chronic health conditions should be addressed under direct medical supervision of your GP or consultant, and acupuncture would be an adjunct or complement to usual care – we advise that you let you doctor know when you use this approach.
About the research: It is worth noting that in research, randomised controlled studies (RCT) are the most reliable in terms of quality of evidence, with a systematic review or meta analysis of numerous studies being the best way of seeing the overall picture of the state of the evidence. Below we have a selection of the available research, which does include some larger RCTs, and reviews of the literature alongside smaller studies. The n= figure tells you how many people were participants in the study.
Fatigue Study in RMMS
Khodaie et al’s RCT (2023: N=60) investigated acupuncture for fatigue in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) in remission phase. They compared the effects of the drug amantadine alone, with amantadine with acupuncture, between two groups. Both groups took amantadine 100 mg every day and standard immune-modulating drugs. One group received acupuncture (10 sessions in 4 weeks) in addition, and the other group did not. Fatigue severity scale (FSS) was used, alongside MSQOL-54 questionnaire score (Quality of Life measure). Both groups had less fatigue, but the acupuncture group had more improvement after 4 weeks; the acupuncture group also had better quality of life, than did the control group. The results suggest that acupuncture with amantadine and standard care is better than amantadine and standard care alone for short-term relief of fatigue and quality of life in people with RRMS.
References: British Acupuncture Council evidence based factsheet about Multiple Sclerosis including specific research, trials and mechanisms of action for acupuncture in this condition.
Khodaie, F., Naser Moghadasi, A., Kazemi, A.H. and Zhao, B., 2023. Effectiveness of acupuncture for fatigue in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. Acupuncture in Medicine, p.09645284221150824.