Acupuncture can relieve acute renal colic

Background: The integration of acupuncture with intramuscular injection of diclofenac sodium can expedite the onset of analgesia in treating acute renal colic caused by urolithiasis. However, it remains unclear whether acupuncture can accelerate pain relief constantly until complete remission. This study aimed to explore the extent to which acupuncture can expedite the onset time of response or complete pain relief in treating acute renal colic, and the predictive value of patient characteristics for treatment efficacy.

Methods: This secondary analysis utilized data from a prior randomized controlled trial. Eighty patients with acute renal colic were randomly assigned 1:1 to the acupuncture group or the sham acupuncture group. After intramuscular injection of diclofenac sodium, acupuncture or sham acupuncture was delivered to patients. The outcomes included time to response (at least a 50 % reduction in pain) and complete pain relief. Between-group comparison under the 2 events was estimated by Kaplan-Meier methodology. Subgroup analysis was performed utilizing the Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: The median response time and complete pain relief time in the acupuncture group were lower than those in the sham acupuncture group (5 vs 30 min, Log Rank P < 0.001; 20 min vs not observed, Log Rank P < 0.001, respectively). Hazard Ratios (HRs) for response across all subgroups favored the acupuncture group. All HRs for complete pain relief favored acupuncture, expect large stone and moderate pain at baseline. No interaction was found in either event.

Conclusion: Acupuncture can accelerate the response time and complete pain relief time for patients with acute renal colic, with the efficacy universally.


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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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