Objectives: The therapeutic effect of acupuncture treatments on functional gastrointestinal disorders is contentious. A meta-analysis was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Methods: The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PUBMED, Web of Science, Wanfang Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and VIP Database were searched through December 31, 2019 with no language restrictions. Risk ratio (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated to determine the improvement in symptom severity after treatment.
Results: A total of 61 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on functional gastrointestinal disorders were included. The pooled results illustrated the following: compared to pharmacotherapy (RR 1.13, 95% CI 1.09-1.17), placebo acupuncture (RR 1.69, 95% CI 1.37-2.08), no specific treatment (RR 1.86, 95% CI 1.31-2.62), and acupuncture treatments as an adjuvant intervention to other active treatments (RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.21-1.30), acupuncture treatments had more favorable improvements in symptom severity; sub-group analysis results classified according to functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, and functional constipation also supported this finding; and the incidence of adverse events was lower in acupuncture treatments than in other treatments (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.56-0.99).
Conclusions: This meta-analysis found that acupuncture treatments was significantly associated with relief of functional gastrointestinal disorders symptoms.