Intranasal low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has already proven its immunosuppressive effects on allergic rhinitis (AR) in experimental studies; however, there is a dearth of clinical evidence supporting its effects in treating AR. The aim of this study was to assess the safety and effectiveness of intranasal LLLT in the treatment of AR compared with acupuncture.
A total of 80 patients with AR participated and were randomly assigned to the intranasal LLLT or acupuncture treatment (AT) group. They were given each treatment for 20 min 3 times a week for 4 weeks.
Both groups improved the total nasal symptom score (TNSS), rhinoconjunctivitis quality of life questionnaire (RQLQ) score, and nasal endoscopy index in patients with AR after 4 weeks of treatment, and these effects extended 4 weeks after the end of treatment. Intranasal LLLT was noninferior to AT in regard to the TNSS. The estimated outcome difference between baseline and the 5th week was -0.38 points (upper 97.5% confidence limit 1.06 points), which was within the noninferiority margin of 2 points. The effect size of the TNSS at the 5th week was 0.19, which was close to Cohen’s small effect size. There were no significant differences between two groups regarding the RQLQ, nasal endoscopy index, total serum immunoglobulin E level or absolute eosinophil count.
This study showed that intranasal LLLT is noninferior compared to AT in terms of the TNSS; thus, it may be used as an alternative or adjunctive treatment option for relieving symptoms of AR.
This study was registered at the Korean National Clinical Trial Registry, Clinical Research Information Service (KCT0004079).

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