Acupuncture as a Symptoms & Side Effects Treatment for Fatigue in Parkinson's Disease
Clinical Intervention Awards, 2010
Fatigue affects approximately half of all Parkinsonís disease patients and has a major impact on quality of life and disability. Unfortunately, Parkinsonís medications do not reliably improve fatigue and there are currently no proven treatments specifically for this symptom. There is some evidence that acupuncture may improve fatigue in other patient populations. The goal of this study is to determine if acupuncture may be helpful for fatigue in Parkinsonís disease.†
To test the effects of acupuncture on fatigue in Parkinsonís disease we will randomly assign Parkinsonís disease patients to either receive real or placebo acupuncture twice a week for six weeks. We will measure patientsí fatigue and other measures of quality of life and disease status prior to starting acupuncture, half-way through treatment, at the completion of treatment and six weeks following their last treatment. We are interested to examine whether patients receiving either real or placebo acupuncture had improvements in their fatigue and whether there are differences between these two groups. We are also interested to see if acupuncture has any benefits on quality of life or other Parkinsonís symptoms.†
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinsonís Disease:
Although a large number of patients with Parkinsonís disease use alternative treatments such as acupuncture, there is little data to help guide patients and their physicians. This study will improve our knowledge of how acupuncture works in Parkinsonís disease. It may additionally provide evidence for the use of acupuncture as a Symptoms & Side Effects treatment for fatigue. Given the lack of proven treatments for fatigue and the potential for medications to cause side effects this would be of great benefit to a large number of patients.††
We anticipate that both real and placebo acupuncture patients will show improvements in fatigue but that real acupuncture will be superior to placebo. We also anticipate that real acupuncture will improve patientsí quality of life and be well-tolerated with minimal side effects or complications.
Ninety-four people with Parkinsonís disease (PD) and moderate to severe fatigue completed our trial of acupuncture. We have completed analysis of the data and are in the process of completing and submitting four related manuscripts: 1) Main results of the randomized controlled trial (real acupuncture significantly improved fatigue but was not different from placebo); 2) Predictors of placebo response (disability and extraversion were strong predictors of clinical response); 3) Detailed description of methods for our protocol; and 4) Predictors of fatigue severity (from baseline data). We have published one manuscript (below) based on validation of our placebo acupuncture method.
Presentations & Publications
Dilli CR, Childs R, Berk J, Christian MK, Nguyen N, Brown RP, Kluger BM. Does prior acupuncture exposure affect perception of blinded real or sham acupuncture? Acupunct Med. 2014 Apr;32(2):155-9. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010449. Epub 2013 Nov 28.
Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Director of Movement Disorders Section at University of Colorado Denver
Location: Aurora, Colorado, United States