Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 829–836 | Cite as

Acupuncture treatment for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia: A longitudinal case-control double blinded study

  • Michelle Cristina Ichida
  • Mariana Zemuner
  • Jorge Hosomi
  • Hong Jin Pai
  • Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira
  • José Tadeu Tesseroli de Siqueira
  • Silvia R. D. T. de SiqueiraEmail author
Original Article



To evaluate the treatment effect of acupuncture on patients with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (ITN) by case-control longitudinal blinded study.


Sixty ITN patients and 30 healthy subjects were included. The ITN patients were randomly assigned to acupuncture group (15 cases), sham-acupuncture group (15 cases) and carbamazepine group (30 cases), respectively. Clinical orofacial evaluation (including pain intensity and medication doses), research diagnostic criteria for temporomandibular disorders (RDC/TMD) and Helkimo indexes (for functional evaluation of the masticatory system), and quantitative sensory testing for sensory thresholds (gustative, olfactory, cold, warm, touch, vibration and superficial and deep pain) were evaluated before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 6 months after treatment.


The mean pain intensity by the Visual Analogue Scale only decreased in the acupuncture group at the last evaluation (P=0.012). Patients in the sham-acupuncture group had an increase in carbamazepine doses according to the prescriptions (P<0.01). There was a reduction in secondary myofascial pain and mandibular limitations at the acupuncture and sham-acupuncture groups, however only the acupuncture group kept the changes after 6 months (P<0.01, P=0.023). There was a decrease in mechanical thresholds in the acupuncture group (tactile, P<0.01; vibration, P=0.027) and an increase in deep pain thresholds in both acupuncture and sham-acupuncture groups (P=0.013).


Acupuncture can be an option in the treatment of ITN due to its analgesic effect in both ITN and secondary myofascial pain associated with it.


acupuncture idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia orofacial pain temporomandibular disorders quantitative sensory testing case-control study 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Cristina Ichida
    • 1
  • Mariana Zemuner
    • 1
  • Jorge Hosomi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hong Jin Pai
    • 2
    • 3
  • Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • José Tadeu Tesseroli de Siqueira
    • 5
    • 6
  • Silvia R. D. T. de Siqueira
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Neurology Department, Medical SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Group of Acupuncture, Interdisciplinary Pain Group of the Neurology Division, Clinical Hospital, Medical SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary Pain Center of Hospital das Clinicas, Neurology Department, Medical SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Neurosurgery Division, Psychiatry Institute, Clinical Hospital, Medical SchoolUniversity of Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil
  5. 5.Orofacial Pain Team, Dentistry Division, Clinical Hospital, Medical SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  6. 6.Group of Oral Medicine and Neuroscience of the Dentistry Division, Psychiatry Institute, Clinical Hospital, Medical SchoolUniversity of Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil
  7. 7.School of Arts, Science and HumanitiesUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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