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Acupuncture for Frequent Tension-Type Headaches

 


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Am Fam Physician. 2016 Aug 1;94(3):online.

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ACUPUNCTURE FOR FREQUENT TENSION-TYPE HEADACHE

NNT = 3 to have at least 50% reduction of headache frequency when compared with routine care; 11 to have at least 50% reduction of headache frequency when compared with sham acupuncture
NNH = 416 to cause adverse event when compared with routine care; 20 to cause adverse event when compared with sham acupuncture
BenefitsHarms

50% reduction of headache frequency when acupuncture is compared with routine care (NNT = 3)

Any harm, such as triggering headache, dizziness, or other pain

50% reduction of headache frequency when acupuncture is compared with sham acupuncture (NNT = 11)

1 in 416 participants withdrew because of adverse events in the acupuncture group when compared with routine care

1 in 20 participants experienced any adverse event from acupuncture treatment compared with sham acupuncture


NNH = number needed to harm; NNT = number needed to treat.

ACUPUNCTURE FOR FREQUENT TENSION-TYPE HEADACHE

NNT = 3 to have at least 50% reduction of headache frequency when compared with routine care; 11 to have at least 50% reduction of headache frequency when compared with sham acupuncture
NNH = 416 to cause adverse event when compared with routine care; 20 to cause adverse event when compared with sham acupuncture
BenefitsHarms

50% reduction of headache frequency when acupuncture is compared with routine care (NNT = 3)

Any harm, such as triggering headache, dizziness, or other pain

50% reduction of headache frequency when acupuncture is compared with sham acupuncture (NNT = 11)

1 in 416 participants withdrew because of adverse events in the acupuncture group when compared with routine care

1 in 20 participants experienced any adverse event from acupuncture treatment compared with sham acupuncture


NNH = number needed to harm; NNT = number needed to treat.

Details for This Review

Study Population: Adults with episodic and/or chronic tension-type headaches

Efficacy End Points: At least 50% reduction of headache frequency after completion of treatment. This was usually three to four months after randomization (recommended as a primary outcome by the International Headache Society Clinical Trials Subcommittee).

Harm End Points: Any adverse event or participant dropping out because of an adverse effect

Narrative: Tension-type headache is the most common type of primary headache and causes more worldwide disability than migraine.1 Between 30% and 78% of the general population have experienced tension-type headache.2 Episodic tension-type headaches are defined as more than one but fewer than 15 days per month with a headache. This can evolve into chronic tension-type headaches in some patients, defined as 15 or more

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.

REFERENCES

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1. Stovner LJ, Hagen K, Jensen R, et al. The global burden of headache: a documentation of headache prevalence and disability worldwide. Cephalalgia. 2007;27(3):193–210....

2. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629–808.

3. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;(4):CD007587.

4. Jena S, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with headache. Cephalalgia. 2008;28(9):969–979.



 

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