Headache is a common disease, with 21% of men and 36% of women reported as sufferers in Germany. While in most cases it is sufficient to treat headaches, a significant minority of patients with migraine need interval treatment as attacks occur too often or are insufficiently controlled.

A study in Germany was conducted to assess cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care for headache sufferers. This study was conducted at the Institute for Social Medicine, University Medical Centre in Berlin, Germany.

In this randomized, controlled trial, 3200 patients diagnosed with primary headache were studied during a 3 month period. In these 3 months, costs considered included direct health care costs of acupuncture, physician visits and hospital stays, and any drugs prescribed. Indirect costs caused by lost workdays were also taken into account.

Based on the findings of the study, the specialists determined that acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment for headaches. A quality of life assessment given at baseline and at 3 months further supported positive feedback from acupuncture with highly significant differences in favor of acupuncture-treated patients.

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