Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture versus placebo with or without standard care, for patients with persistent allergic rhinitis with or without other allergies, were included. Acupuncture treatment was defined as any treatment which stimulated acupoints. The outcomes of interest were broadly defined as any measurement relating to the impact of treatment and could include quality of life, days off work or school, symptom scores, medication use, and adverse effects.
Included RCTs evaluated a range of acupuncture treatments such as needle-based and laser acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture (needling on other points, superficial needling, or sham laser). The intervention was delivered either pre-seasonally or when patients were symptomatic. Frequency of sessions ranged from one to five per week, with a total of between two and 16 sessions. The most commonly reported outcome measures were symptom severity, evaluated using a visual analogue scale, and medication usage. These trials took place across Europe, Hong Kong, and Australia and only one trial included paediatric patients, while in the others the ages ranged from 18 to 70 years.
It appears that three reviewers selected trials for inclusion in the review.