Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a common disease without an established optimal treatment.


To determine (i) the effect of acupuncture in relieving FD symptoms and improving life quality; (ii) the effect difference between acupoint and non-acupoint; and (iii) the effect difference among different acupoints.


A total of 712 eligible patients were included and randomly assigned to six groups (Group A: specific acupoints of the stomach meridian; Group B: non-specific acupoints of the stomach meridian; Group C: specific acupoints of alarm and transport points; Group D: specific acupoints of the gallbladder meridian; Group E: sham acupuncture of non-acupoints; and Group F: itopride). A treatment period of 4 weeks (continuous five sessions per week), and a follow-up period of 12 weeks were arranged. The outcomes were the (i) patients’ response, (ii) symptoms improvement measured using the Symptom Index of Dyspepsia and (iii) quality-of-life improvement based on Nepean Dyspepsia Index.


All groups had an improvement in dyspepsia symptoms and the QoL at the end of treatment, and the improvement was sustained for 4 weeks and 12 weeks. The overall response rate was significantly higher in acupuncture group A (70.69%), and lower in sham acupuncture group (34.75%), compared with itopride and other acupuncture groups. Similarly, the difference in symptoms and QoL improvement was significant between group A and the other acupuncture groups.


Acupuncture is effective in the treatment of functional dyspepsia, and is superior to non-acupoint puncture. The benefit of acupuncture relies on acupoint specificity.