The experience of veterans with hepatitis C and acupuncture: A mixed methods pilot study

Sara E. Golden, Diane Miller, Lissi Hansen, Dawn Peters, Patricia Taylor-Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction In the USA, veterans are increasingly using and requesting complementary and alternative therapies. Our goal was to explore long-term changes in symptoms for veterans in two groups: veterans with hepatitis C (HCV) not receiving antiviral therapy (HCV-only group), and veterans with HCV who were receiving antiviral triple therapy (HCV-TT group). Methods This pilot study used a mixed method prospective descriptive design. Participants were asked to attend two acupuncture sessions per week for eight weeks. Quantitative data were collected at 7 time points over the course of 10 weeks using validated instruments. Semi structured individual interviews were carried out before and after treatment. Main outcome measures were changes from baseline in physical and psychological symptoms, including fatigue, depression, quality of life, pain, and other symptom burden. Results Although pain changes from baseline were not significant, pain disability changes were significant and varied depending on HCV treatment status. In fatigue, depression, and symptoms, we found a trend toward improvement in the HCV-only group. Qualitatively, improved mood was the most commonly reported change after acupuncture, followed by decreased pain, medication use, and fatigue, leading to improved quality of life. All veterans were pleased with their acupuncture experience and would recommend this therapy to others. Conclusions Despite the effects of a debilitating medication regimen for veterans undergoing TT, all veterans reported having a positive experience with acupuncture. We found that acupuncture is desired by veterans and can improve symptoms commonly experienced by veterans with HCV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-18
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Acupuncture
  • Hepatitis C
  • Mixed methods
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom management
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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