Effectiveness of acupuncture for Parkinson's disease: A systematic review

Authors

  • Myeong Soo Lee PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, Exeter, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
    • Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 461-24, Jeonmin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, South Korea
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  • Byung-Cheul Shin OMD, PhD,

    1. Department of Oriental Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, South Korea
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  • Jae Cheol Kong OMD, MSc,

    1. Department of Oriental Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, South Korea
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  • Edzard Ernst MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPEd

    1. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, Exeter, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The objective of this review is to assess the clinical evidence for or against acupuncture as a treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD). We searched the literature using 17 databases from their inception to September 2007 (searched again 3rd January 2008), without language restrictions. We included all randomized clinical trials (RCTs) regardless of their design. Methodological quality was assessed using the Jadad score. Eleven RCTs met all inclusion criteria. Three RCTs assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture on Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) compared with placebo acupuncture. A meta-analysis of these studies showed no significant effect (n = 96, WMD, 5.7; 95% CI −2.8 to 14.2, P = 0.19, heterogeneity: tau2 = 0, χ2 = 0.97, P = 0.62, I2 = 0%). Another six RCTs compared acupuncture plus conventional drugs on improvement of symptoms of PD with drugs only. A meta-analysis of two of these studies suggested a positive effect of scalp acupuncture (n = 106, RR, 1.46, 95% CI = 1.15 to 1.87, P = 0.002; heterogeneity: tau2 = 0.00, χ2 = 1.14, P = 0.29, I2 = 12%). Two further RCTs tested acupuncture versus no treatment. The meta-analysis of these studies also suggested beneficial effects of acupuncture. The results of the latter two types of RCTs fail to adequately control for nonspecific effects. In conclusion, the evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating PD is not convincing. The number and quality of trials as well as their total sample size are too low to draw any firm conclusion. Further rigorous trials are warranted. © 2008 Movement Disorder Society

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