Acupoint stimulation effective for primary dysmenorrhea
Acupoint stimulation effectively relieves pain in primary dysmenorrhea (PD), according to a new meta-analysis.
After applying the selection criteria, 19 randomized controlled studies (RCTs) were found to be eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Studies were retrieved from the databases of PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, CNKI, Wangfang Data and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database.
Studies that were not RCTs, those that used combination of treatments and those with incomplete data were excluded.
Pooled data from 17 trials showed that acupoint stimulation was significantly more effective than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) in terms of clinical efficacy for patients with PD (odds ratio [OR], 5.57; 95 percent CI, 3.96 to 7.83; p<0.00001).
Similarly, symptom score in PD patients, reported in six trials, was significantly improved by acupoint stimulation (mean difference [MD], 2.99; 2.49 to 3.49; p<0.0001).
Three trials examined pain, as measured by the visual analogue scale. Pooling the findings from these studies, it was found that acupoint stimulation showed no significant benefit than controls in terms of pain improvement (MD, 1.24; -3.37 to 5.85; p=0.60).
In terms of side effects, control treatments had significantly more side effects than acupoint stimulation, according to a pooled analysis of two trials (OR, 0.03; 0.00 to 0.22; p=0.0005).
In assessing methodological quality, researchers used the criteria outlined in Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews. They found that while randomization was correctly followed in most of the studies, only very few reported on allocation concealment, participant blinding and outcome blinding.