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Acupuncture and Osteopathic Medicine for Atopic Dermatitis – a Three-armed Randomized Controlled Explorative Clinical Trial

Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 2022/07, (online 2022/07/25):. doi: 10.1111/ced.15340, type of study: randomized controlled trial

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atopic dermatitis [4]
acupuncture [31]
osteopathic manipulative treatment [1896]
OMT [1871]
randomized controlled trial [503]


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) patients frequently use acupuncture (ACU) and osteopathic medicine (OM), although their therapeutic benefits are unclear. Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of ACU and OM in AD patients. Methods: In a three-armed randomized controlled single-center open explorative clinical trial, adult AD patients received ACU, OM, or no study intervention (control) plus routine care. Outcomes included disease severity (SCORing Atopic Dermatitis, SCORAD), itching intensity (visual analog scale, VAS), frequency of topical corticosteroid (TCS) use within seven days, and cost-effectiveness. Endpoints were analyzed by analysis of covariance adjusted for the respective baseline value and TCS use. Results: Overall, 121 patients (92 female) with a mean (±SD) age of 31.4±10.5 years were randomized. After 12 weeks, the adjusted means (95% CI) for ACU, OM, and control were SCORAD 22.3 (18.3;26.3), 26.4 (22.6;30.2), 23.7 (19.9;27.5), p=0.321; VAS itching 27.9 mm (19.5;36.4), 35.0 mm (26.9;43.0), 42.3 mm (34.7;50.0), p=0.047; TCS use 2.3 (0.8;3.9), 1.9 (0.4;3.5), 4.3 (2.6;6.0), p=0.101. ACU and OM were not cost-effective compared with the control. Conclusion: Although no differences in disease severity were found, our findings indicate that ACU might reduce itching in patients with AD. Furthermore, ACU and OM show a trend toward reducing TCS use.

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