Background: Primary osteoporosis is a systemic metabolic skeletal disease. Previous studies have shown that moxibustion can reduce pain intensity and enhance response rate, bone mineral density, and living function of the patients with primary osteoporosis. However, consensus on its efficacy does not exist, and evidence of moxibustion for primary osteoporosis is also insufficient.
Methods: We searched five English and four Chinese databases with various additional sources and published reviews through December 1, 2021, to evaluate potentially concerned randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Two independent researchers addressed selection screening, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment. The data of this meta-analysis were analyzed using the RevMan v.5.4 software. Additionally, the trial sequential analysis v.0.9.5.10 β was used to estimate the sample size. In contrast, the quality of evidence from the RCTs was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation tool.
Results: The current meta-analysis included 14 RCTs containing 898 participants. The methodological quality of the RCTs was moderate. The review demonstrated that a combination of moxibustion and conventional medicine significantly reduced pain intensity and improved the bone mineral density compared with conventional medicine. Furthermore, it was found that moxibustion plus conventional medicine/moxibustion could improve response rates compared with conventional medicine. However, it was found that the reduction of pain intensity and improvement of bone mineral density by moxibustion showed no significant difference compared with conventional medicine. It was also evident that the sample size of most outcomes was inadequate. Moreover, all evidence obtained in this study was ranked as low to critically low.
Conclusions: In conclusion, it was demonstrated that moxibustion is a potentially effective agent for treating primary osteoporosis.