A pragmatic randomised study has evaluated the clinical and economic effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of women with dysmenorrhoea. 201 patients were allocated to receive either up to 15 acupuncture sessions over three months or no acupuncture. Both groups additionally received usual medical care. Outcome measures of pain intensity and quality of life were recorded at baseline and after three months. After three months, patients in the acupuncture group were found to have less pain than controls. A cost-effectiveness calculation was performed, based on calculating quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). This analysis showed that although acupuncture treatment incurred additional costs when compared with usual care, the improvement to patient’s quality of life means it can be regarded as cost-effective when compared with international benchmarks.

(Pragmatic randomised study evaluating clinical and economic effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with dysmenorrhoea. Focus Altern Complement Ther. 2006;11(5):53)