Acupuncture plus Chinese Herbal Medicine for Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Research paper by Jing J Yan, Zhi-Wei ZW Miao, Jun J Lu, Fei F Ge, Li-Hua LH Yu, Wen-Bin WB Shang, Li-Na LN Liu, Zhi-Guang ZG Sun

Indexed on: 01 Dec '19Published on: 22 May '19Published in: Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM


To comprehensively evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in treating irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). Relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were systemically retrieved from electronic databases from inception to March 2018, including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), PubMed, EMBASE, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Biological Medical Database (CBM, SinoMed), China Science and Technology Journal Database (VIP), and Wan Fang Data. Meanwhile, pooled estimates, including the 95% confidence interval (CI), were calculated for primary and secondary outcomes of IBS-D patients. Besides, quality of relevant articles was evaluated using the Cochrane Collaboration's risk of bias tool, and the Review Manager 5.3 and Stata12.0 softwares were employed for analyses. A total of 21 RCTs related to IBS-D were included into this meta-analysis. Specifically, the pooled results indicated that (1) acupuncture combined with CHM might result in more favorable improvements compared with the control group (relative risk [RR] 1.29; 95% CI 1.24-1.35; P =0.03); (2) the combined method could markedly enhance the clinical efficacy in the meantime of remarkably reducing the scores of abdominal pain (standardized mean difference [SMD] -0.45; 95% CI -0.72, -0.17; P = 0.002), abdominal distention/discomfort (SMD -0.36; 95% CI -0.71, -0.01; P = 0.04), diarrhea (SMD -0.97; 95% CI -1.18, -0.75; P < 0.00001), diet condition (SMD -0.73; 95% CI -0.93, -0.52; P<0.00001), physical strength (SMD -1.25; 95% CI -2.32, -0.19; P = 0.02), and sleep quality (SMD -1.02; 95% CI -1.26, -0.77; P < 0.00001) compared with those in the matched groups treated with western medicine, or western medicine combined with CHM. Additionally, a metaregression analysis was constructed according to the name of prescription, acupuncture type, treatment course and publication year, and subgroup analyses stratified based on the names of prescriptions and acupoints location were also carried out, so as to explore the potential heterogeneities; and (3) IBS-D patients treated with the combined method only developed inconspicuous adverse events; more importantly, the combined treatment had displayed promising long-term efficacy. Findings in this study indicate that acupuncture combined with CHM is suggestive of an effective and safe treatment approach for IBS-D patients, which may serve as a promising method to treat IBS-D in practical application. However, more large-scale, multicenter, long-term, and high-quality RCTs are required in the future, given the small size, low quality, and high risk of the studies identified in this meta-analysis.

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