Cost-Effectiveness of Acupuncture

Economic Evaluation in Acupuncture

Acupuncture’s Place in U.S. Healthcare

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine.”1 Nearly 40% of United States citizens use some form of CAM each year2 and according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) there were 354 million visits to CAM providers and 835 million CAM purchases. The 2007 out-of-pocket expenditure for CAM in United States was nearly 34 billion dollars.2 Visits to a health care practitioner of any kind totaled $61.5 billion, of which, $11.9 billion was spent on CAM providers such as acupuncturists and chiropractors. Over 3.1 million adults visited an acupuncturist in 2007, a figure that has risen sharply over the past decade; in 1997 there were 272 visits to an acupuncturist per 1,000 adults compared to 79.2 visits in 2007.3 This is due, in part, to successful efforts at regulation and licensing acupuncturists, a movement toward standardization of acupuncture delivery, and increased ref read more . . .  

Comparison of pharmacological treatment versus acupuncture treatment for migraine without aura–analysis of socio-medical parameters

Liguori A, Petti F, Bangrazi A, Camaioni D, Guccione G, Pitari GM, Bianchi A, Nicoletti WE.

This study was carried out in 120 patients affected by migraine without aura, treated in 4 public health centers and randomly divided into acupuncture group (AG) and conventional drug therapy group (CDTG). The evaluation of clinical results was made 6 and 12 months after the beginning of treatment and was worked out as well according to socio-medical parameters. Acupuncture was applied to the following points: Touwei (ST 8), Xuanlu (GB 5), Fengchi (GB 20), Dazhui (GV 14), Lieque (LU 7), treated with the reducing method. In AG, the figure scoring the entity and frequency of migraine attacks drops from 9,823 before treatment to 1,990 6 months after and 1,590 12 months after; while in CDTG, it drops from 8,405 before treatment to 3,927 6 months after and 3,084 12 months after. In AG, the total absence from work amounted to 1,120 working days/year, with a total cost (private + social costs) of 186,677 read more . . .

Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with headache.

Witt CM, Reinhold T, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN.

The aim was to assess costs and cost-effectiveness of additional acupuncture treatment in patients with headache compared with patients receiving routine care alone. A randomized, controlled trial was conducted, including patients (> or =18 years old) with primary headache (more than 12 months, at least two headaches/month). Outcome parameters were quality of life (Short Form 36), direct and indirect costs differences during the 3-month study period and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of acupuncture treatment. A total of 3182 patients (1613 acupuncture; 1569 controls) with headache were included (77.4% women, mean age read more . . .

Cost effectiveness analysis of a randomised trial of acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care.

Wonderling D, Vickers AJ, Grieve R, McCarney R.

401 patients with chronic headache, predominantly migraine. Interventions Patients were randomly allocated to receive up to 12 acupuncture treatments over three months from appropriately trained physiotherapists, or to usual care alone.


Total costs during the one year period of the study were on average higher for the acupuncture group (403 pounds sterling; 768 dollars; 598 euros) than for controls (217 pounds sterling) because of the acupuncture practitioners’ costs. The mean health gain from acupuncture during the one year of the trial was 0.021 quality adjusted life years read more . . .



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