Objective: To synthesize the results of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and evaluate the effectiveness and safety of indirect moxibustion for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.
Methods: PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Embase, Web of Science, CNKI, WanFang, VIP, and CBM from the establishment to May 22, 2020 were searched. This was a PRISMA review. Reviewers identified studies, extracted data, and assessed the quality, independently. RCTs for allergic rhinitis patients treated with IM alone or IM combined with other positive interventions (e.g. western medicine, conventional therapy, etc.) were included.
The main outcomes included: total effective rate and TNSS. The secondary outcomes included: TNNSS, Graded symptom score, RQLQ, VAS, Serum IgE level and adverse events. RCTs were collected, methodological quality was evaluated using the Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment tool (RoB), and the level of evidence was rated using the GRADE approach. Meta-analysis was performed using the RevMan5.3.0 manager.
Results: We included 21 RCTs involving 1549 patients. Five RCTs adopt IM treatment alone; 16 RCTs adopt IM+other positive interventions. In the assessment of the quality, the evidence differs from low to high based on the Cochrane Bias Evaluation Tools. Six trials were high quality, twelve were moderate quality, and three were low quality. Therefore, the quality of the included studies was moderate. The total evidence quality of all outcome indicators was low. The main adverse reactions of moxibustion are burns and blisters, whereas the western medicine group was nasal bleeding. The results of pooled analysis indicated a statistically significant effect in total effective rate of (RR=1.16, 95%CI=1.11 to 1.21, I2=30%, P=0.10).
Besides, indirect moxibustion intervention also showed significant difference in graded symptom score (SMD=-1.10; 95% CI [-1.58, -0.61]; P<0.00001; I2=88%), TNSS score (SMD=-1.36; 95% CI [-2.14, -0.58]; P=0.76; I2=0%), and RQLQ scale (SMD=-2.60; 95% CI [-4.06, -1.14]; P <0.00001; I2 =92%) in patients with allergic rhinitis. However, there was no statistical significance in VAS score (SMD=-0.38; 95% CI [-1.06, 0.30]; P <0.003; I2 =83%). Since only one literature was included in TNNSS and Serum IgE levels, descriptive analysis was conducted. And the results showed that the trial group was better than the control group in reducing TNNSS score (P < 0.05). In serum IgE levels,there was no significant difference between the two groups (P>0.05).
Conclusion: From the analysis results, indirect moxibustion may have a good clinical effect on the overall treatment of allergic rhinitis, and improve the clinical symptoms of patients;but there was no obvious advantage in improving VAS score and Serum IgE level.