Post-stroke thalamic pain is one of the most common sequelae following stroke. Analgesics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and surgical treatment are conventional treatment methods of post-stroke thalamic pain, but these methods have limited efficacy, cost more, and cause a likelihood of adverse reactions. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has a significant analgesic effect on post-stroke thalamic pain without obvious side effects. But, there is a lack of high-quality evidence concerning its effectiveness and safety to support its use. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of acupuncture versus Western medicine for the treatment of post-stroke thalamic pain to provide evidence to support clinical post-stroke thalamic pain treatment.
Searches were conducted to identify randomized controlled trials investigating the use of acupuncture for post-stroke thalamic pain across six databases, including PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Wan Fang Database, and the Chinese Scientific Journal Database VIP. RevMan 5.3 software was used for the meta-analysis.
The results showed that compared with Western medicine, acupuncture had a higher total effective rate for the treatment of post-stroke thalamic pain, reduced visual analog scale scores, increased beta-endorphin content, and decreased incidence of adverse reactions.