Acupuncture may help people who lose their sense of smell after a viral infection, researchers say.
In a new study, 15 patients with post-viral olfactory dysfunction (PVOD) had 10 weekly, 30-minute sessions of traditional Chinese acupuncture. These patients were compared with PVOD patients treated with vitamin B complex.
Smell function improved in eight patients in the acupuncture group and in two patients in the vitamin B group. The findings suggest that acupuncture may be a new treatment option for patients with PVOD, the researchers reported in the April issue of the journal Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.
There is no validated drug treatment for PVOD. Current treatments include systemic and topical steroids, vitamin B supplements, caroverine, and alpha lipoic acid. In addition to these treatments, many patients use complementary and alternative medicines, the researchers noted.