Acupuncture for patients with dysmenorrheoa (ARC) - a pragmatic randomized trial

Acupuncture for patients with dysmenorrheoa (ARC) - a pragmatic randomized trial

Objective:To investigate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea.

Study design: In a randomized controlled trial plus non-randomized cohort, patients with dysmenorrhea were randomized to acupuncture (15 sessions over three months) or to a control group (no acupuncture). Patients who declined randomization received acupuncture treatment. All subjects were allowed to receive usual medical care.

Results: Of 649 women (mean age 36.1 +/- 7.1 years), 201 were randomized. After three months, the average pain intensity (NRS 0-10) was lower in the acupuncture compared to the control group: 3.1 (95% CI 2.7; 3.6) vs. 5.4 (4.9; 5.9), difference -2.3 (-2.9; -1.6); P<.001. The acupuncture group had better quality of life and higher costs. (overall ICER 3,011 euros per QALY).

Conclusion: Additional acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea was associated with improvements in pain and quality of life as compared to treatment with usual care alone and was cost-effective within usual thresholds.

Witt CM, Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Roll S, Jena S, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in usual care. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Feb;198(2):166.e1-8.

Principle investigator:
Willich, MD, MPH, MBA
Witt, MD, MBA

Research associate:
Jena, PhD
Brinkhaus, MD
Reinhold, PhD

Wegscheider, PhD
Roll, PhD

Data management:

Study nurse:


Project duration:

Project status:

Techniker Krankenkasse (statutory health insurance)