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Research on Chinese medicine and nasal allergies

Last updated: 11 March, 2017
by Steven Clavey, Traditional Chinese Gynaecology

Impact of acupuncture on antihistamine use in patients suffering seasonal allergic rhinitis: secondary analysis of results from a randomised controlled trial.

Acupunct Med. 2018 Feb 10. pii: acupmed-2017-011382. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2017-011382. [Epub ahead of print]

Acupuncture appeared to significantly reduce the number of days of antihistamine use while improving rhinitis- related quality of life and seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms; it can therefore be considered a valuable, additional treatment option for patients with SAR.

Adam D, Grabenhenrich L, Ortiz M, Binting S, Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B.

BACKGROUND: Seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) is a common disease that has detrimental effects on the quality of life (QoL) of affected individuals. Approximately 18% of patients try to alleviate their symptoms through acupuncture. The ACUSAR (ACUpuncture in Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis) study (ClinicalTrials.gov registration no. NCT00610584) assessed the impact of acupuncture on SAR, showing significant improvements in rhinitis-specific QoL (RQoL) and in rescue medication (RM) use.

OBJECTIVE: A secondary analysis of SAR patients’ use of antihistamine.

METHODS: Patients were randomised into three study groups: acupuncture plus RM, sham acupuncture plus RM, and RM alone. The patients documented their medication use before and during the intervention period (8 weeks). The main outcome was the number of days with antihistamine use. Statistical analyses were conducted using parametric and non-parametric tests. The robustness of the results was tested by sensitivity analyses using non-parametric bootstrapping.

RESULTS: The data from 414 patients were analysed. The acupuncture group used antihistamines significantly less often compared with the other groups (acupuncture vs sham acupuncture: mean difference -4.49 days, p=0.01; acupuncture vs RM: mean difference -9.15 days, p<0.001). Approximately 38% of the acupuncture group did not use any antihistamine in contrast to only 16% in the RM group. The pre-post comparison suggested that the acupuncture patients did not need to increase the days of antihistamine use to alleviate their symptoms, unlike the other groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acupuncture appeared to significantly reduce the number of days of antihistamine use while improving RQoL and SAR symptoms; it can therefore be considered a valuable, additional treatment option for patients with SAR.

 

 Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis.

Acupuncture modulated mucosal immune response in the upper airway in adults with persistent allergic rhinitis. This modulation appears to be associated with down-regulation of allergen specific IgE for house dust mite, which this study is the first to report. Improvements in nasal itch, eye itch, and sneezing after acupuncture are suggestive of down-regulation of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Jun;116(6):497-505. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2016.04.002. Epub 2016 May 4.

McDonald JL, Smith PK, Smith CA, Changli Xue C, Golianu B, Cripps AW; Mucosal Immunology Research Group.

BACKGROUND: Clinical evidence suggests that acupuncture improves symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis, but the physiologic basis of these improvements is not well understood.

OBJECTIVE: A randomized, sham-controlled trial of acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis in adults investigated possible modulation of mucosal immune responses.

METHODS: A total of 151 individuals were randomized into real and sham acupuncture groups (who received twice-weekly treatments for 8 weeks) and a no acupuncture group. Various cytokines, neurotrophins, proinflammatory neuropeptides, and immunoglobulins were measured in saliva or plasma from baseline to 4-week follow-up.

RESULTS: Statistically significant reduction in allergen specific IgE for house dust mite was seen only in the real acupuncture group, from 18.87 kU/L (95% CI, 10.16-27.58 kU/L) to 17.82 kU/L (95% CI, 9.81-25.83 kU/L) (P = .04). A mean (SE) statistically significant down-regulation was also seen in proinflammatory neuropeptide substance P (SP) 18 to 24 hours after the first treatment from 408.74 (299.12) pg/mL to 90.77 (22.54) pg/mL (P = .04). No significant changes were seen in the other neuropeptides, neurotrophins, or cytokines tested. Nasal obstruction, nasal itch, sneezing, runny nose, eye itch, and unrefreshed sleep improved significantly in the real acupuncture group (postnasal drip and sinus pain did not) and continued to improve up to 4-week follow-up.

CONCLUSION:

Acupuncture modulated mucosal immune response in the upper airway in adults with persistent allergic rhinitis. This modulation appears to be associated with down-regulation of allergen specific IgE for house dust mite, which this study is the first to report. Improvements in nasal itch, eye itch, and sneezing after acupuncture are suggestive of down-regulation of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1.

 

Potential effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine Yu ping feng san for adult allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

In this review of studies on a particular formula “Yu Ping Feng San”, the authors found: “Chinese herbal medicine formula YPFS seems beneficial for adult AR. This potential benefit need to be further evaluated by more rigorous RCTs.”

Qiulan Luo†, Claire Shuiqing Zhang†, Lihong Yang, Anthony Lin Zhang, Xinfeng Guo, Charlie Changli XueEmail author
and Chuanjian LuEmail author

†Contributed equally

BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted201717:485

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1988-5©  The Author(s). 2017

Received: 15 July 2017Accepted: 22 October 2017Published: 6 November 2017

Open Peer Review reports

Abstract

Background

Chinese herbal medicine formula Yu ping feng san (YPFS) is commonly used for allergic rhinitis (AR). Previous review had summarized the effectiveness and safety of YPFS, however without any subgroup analysis performed to provide detailed evidence for guiding clinical practice. YPFS was recommended for the management of AR by Chinese medicine clinical practice guideline, but the treatment duration of YPFS was also not specified. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of YPFS in treating adult AR with the most recent evidence, and attempt to specify the duration of utilisation through subgroup meta-analyses.

Methods

Seven databases were searched from their inceptions to September 2017. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating YPFS for adult AR were included. Methodological quality of studies was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Meta-analysis and subgroup meta-analyses were conducted for evaluating the effectiveness of YPFS. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used for rating the quality of evidence.

Results

Twenty-two RCTs involving 23 comparisons were included in this review. YPFS was compared to placebo, pharmacotherapy, and used as an add-on treatment compared to pharmacotherapy. Meta-analyses were feasible for the outcomes of four individual nasal symptom scores and “effective rate”. Four individual nasal symptom scores decreased after YPFS’ combination treatment: itchy nose (MD-0.46, 95% CI[−0.50, −0.42]), sneezing (MD-0.41, 95% CI[−0.47, −0.35]), blocked nose (MD-0.46, 95% CI[−0.54, −0.39]) and runny nose (MD-0.42, 95% CI[−0.58, −0.26]). Based on “effective rate”, meta-analysis showed that YPFS did not achieve better effect than pharmacotherapy (RR1.07, 95%CI [0.94, 1.22), but its combination with pharmacotherapy seemed more effective than pharmacotherapy alone (RR1.27, 95%CI [1.19, 1.34]) (low quality). Subgroup analysis suggested that YPFS was not superior to the second-generation antihistamine (RR1.04, 95%CI [0.90, 1.19]) (low quality). Further, YPFS’ combination treatment seemed more beneficial when it was used for more than three weeks (RR1.15, 95%CI [1.01, 1.32]). In addition, YPFS was well-tolerated for treating adult AR.

Conclusion

Chinese herbal medicine formula YPFS seems beneficial for adult AR. This potential benefit need to be further evaluated by more rigorous RCTs.

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