June 20, 2006 â€” Acupuncture is effective treatment of fibromyalgia, especially for symptoms of fatigue and anxiety, according to the results of a prospective, partially blinded, randomized study reported in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings."The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," lead author David P. Martin, MD, PhD, from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, in Rochester, Minn, said in a news release. "It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."According to the article, more than 90% of patients with fibromyalgia have tried complementary techniques, including dietary and herbal supplements, indicating their openness to complementary medicine and/or inadequate response to allopathic therapies. The National Institutes of Health has issued a consensus statement that concludes that acupuncture may be helpful as adjunctive therapy for fibromyalgia, but there were no previous controlled studies to support this conclusion.From May 28, 2002, to August 18, 2003, 25 patients receiving true acupuncture were compared with a control group of 25 patients who received simulated acupuncture. All patients met American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia and had failed other conservative symptomatic treatments. Symptoms were measured with the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and the Multidimensional Pain Inventory at baseline, immediately after treatment, and at 1 and 7 months after treatment.During the study period, total fibromyalgia symptoms measured with the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire were improved in the acupuncture group compared with the control group (P = .01). The largest difference in mean Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire total scores was seen at 1 month (42.2 in the control group vs 34.8 in the acupuncture group; P = .007). During the follow-up period, fatigue and anxiety were the most significantly improved symptoms, but activity and physical function levels did not change. Acupuncture was well tolerated and associated with minimal adverse effects."This study paradigm allows for controlled and blinded clinical trials of acupuncture," the authors write. "We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety."Study limitations include relatively small sample size, inability to precisely determine duration of acupuncture's effects, use of less than optimal acupuncture therapy, and predominantly white, female sample."Acupuncture may have a role in the symptomatic treatment of patients with fibromyalgia," the authors conclude.Mayo Foundation, the Mayo Anesthesia Clinical Research Unit, and the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research supported this study and one of its investigators.