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Acupuncture Does Not Help Pain

Although both acupuncture and the antidepressant amitriptyline are used to treat pain due to HIV-related nerve damage, neither treatment was found to relieve this pain in a new scientific study. The report is published in the November 11th issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 30% of patients infected with HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- develop nerve damage in their extremities, a disorder called ``peripheral neuropathy.''

While acupuncture and antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are often recommended for the pain, their pain-relieving potential has never been scientifically tested in carefully controlled studies involving HIV-positive patients who have peripheral neuropathy, according to Dr. Judith C. Shlay of Denver Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS in Colorado, and colleagues.

"The use of these treatments is based on anecdotal information and trials in other disease conditions,'' such as diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy, the researchers write.

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