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Acupuncture appears more effective than pharmacotherapy or surgery for the management of trigeminal neuralgia, and is safer and cheaper to deliver than surgical or pharmacotherapeutic interventions. British authors compared acupuncture against the current first-line drug treatment (carbamazepine) and the most effective surgery (microvascular decompression - MVD), in a total of 17 studies. Acupuncture had the greatest efficacy of the modalities considered (86.5%) compared to surgery (79.3%) and pharmacotherapy (71.7%). Acupuncture also had fewer reported side effects (22.7%) compared with surgery (25.3%) and pharmacotherapy (88.8%). Acupuncture also had the lowest associated cost; after 5 years, the cost of acupuncture was estimated to be £750, compared to £1507.73 for carbamazepine and £4878.42 for MVD. Acupuncture was also rated as the least stressful intervention by patients.

Acupuncture in the management of trigeminal neuralgia. Acupunct Med. 2020 Jun 10;964528420924042.