The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for headache

    Researchers from Berlin’s Charité University Medical Centre report it’s worth the cost.

    First, the details.

    • 3182 adults with primary headache (headache unrelated to an underlying disease) were studied.
    • Each patient had a history of at least 2 headaches per month over the past year.
    • Acupuncture plus routine care was compared to routine care alone.
    • Outcome measures included 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.
      • ICER is the ratio of the difference in costs of acupuncture plus routine care vs routine care alone, adjusted for the improvement in patient care.

    And, the results.

    • Costs were significantly higher in the acupuncture group vs the usual care group due to the cost of acupuncture.
    • But the ICER was €11,657 per quality of life years gained (QALY) gained.

    The bottom line?
    In dollars, that more than $17,000.

    The authors concluded, “According to international cost-effectiveness threshold values, acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment in patients with primary headache.”

    In an earlier review, the Cochrane Library concluded, “The existing evidence supports the value of acupuncture for the treatment of idiopathic headaches.” However, they wanted more evidence.

    Now they have it.

    3/5/08 18:46 JR

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