Acupuncture aids in the treatment of myasthenia gravis

Background: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture for myasthenia gravis (MG) were searched and the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of myasthenia gravis was evaluated by meta-analysis.

Methods: We searched for RCTs in six main electronic databases, and collected RCTs of acupuncture treatment for myasthenia gravis from database creation to 28 February 2023. The main outcome was the effective rate and the secondary outcome was the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) relative clinical score, absolute clinical score (ACS) of myasthenia gravis, Quantitive myasthenia gravis score (QMG), quality of life, and adverse events. Odds ratios (ORs) and weighted mean differences (WMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to assess pooled effect estimates using Review Manager software.

Results: A total of 14 RCTs were included. Meta-analysis showed that the effective rate in the acupuncture group was significantly improved compared with conventional Western medicine alone [OR = 4.28, 95% CI (2.95, 6, 22), P<0.005].

The pooled WMDs revealed that TCM relative clinical score [WMD = -2.22, 95% CI = (-2.53, -1.90), P<0.005], ACS of myasthenia gravis [WMD = -3.14, 95% CI = (-3.67, -2.62), P<0.005], and QMG [WMD = -0.88, 95% CI = (-1.46, -0.29), P<0.005] in the acupuncture group was lower than the control group. Adverse reactions related to acupuncture and quality of life were less mentioned among included RCTs.

Conclusion: This meta-analysis demonstrated that acupuncture as an auxiliary may play a positive role in treating myasthenia gravis. It can improve the effective rate of treatment, and reduce TCM relative clinical score, ACS of myasthenia gravis, and QMG.

However, the quality of included studies was generally low and caution should be exercised when considering this treatment option. In the future, more rigorous study designs and high-quality RCTs are needed to verify the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of myasthenia gravis, because the results of high-quality RCTs are more reliable and accurate.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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