Objective: To assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of Raynaud’s syndrome by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Methods: Studies were identified from English and Chinese databases from their inception to September 2020. The outcomes of interest were remission incidence, number of daily attacks, incidence of positive cold stimulation tests and incidence of cold provocation tests. We conducted meta-analysis and network meta-analysis using meta and gemtc.
Results: Six trials (n = 272 participants) were included in the meta-analysis. Pairwise meta-analyses show that acupuncture was associated with increased remission incidence (risk ratio (RR) = 1.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.10 to 1.34), decreased daily number of attacks (weighted mean difference (WMD) = -0.57, 95% CI = -1.14 to -0.01), and increased incidence of positive cold stimulation tests (RR = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.27 to 2.11). There was not enough evidence to associate acupuncture with decreased incidence of positive cold provocation tests. The network meta-analyses did not demonstrate significant results for the effectiveness of any acupuncture treatments (electroacupuncture or manual acupuncture ± moxibustion), compared with controls, in terms of remission incidence or daily number of attacks, possibly due to small sample sizes and a lack of statistical power.
Conclusion: The use of acupuncture may be effective for the treatment of Raynaud’s syndrome in terms of increasing remission incidence, decreasing daily number of attacks and increasing incidences of positive cold stimulation tests.