Acupuncture: does it alleviate pain and are there serious risks? A review of reviews.

Citation

Evidence Type: Research (Systematic Review)
Pain. 2011 Apr;152(4):755-64. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.004. - Acupuncture: does it alleviate pain and are there serious risks? A review of reviews. - PubMed - NCBI Score: 0.0/0.0

Discussion

This research is a systematic review of 57 systematic reviews on the efficacy of acupuncture. To quote the articles abstract:
"In conclusion, numerous systematic reviews have generated little truly convincing evidence that acupuncture is effective in reducing pain. Serious adverse effects continue to be reported. Numerous reviews have produced little convincing evidence that acupuncture is effective in reducing pain. Serious adverse events, including deaths, continue to be reported."

Strengths/Weaknesses

Conclusions

Strength/Weakness 1

Very strong strength: Adequate Sample Size

Being a systematic review of systematic reviews, this study is huge.


Strength/Weakness 2

Strong strength: Well Designed Research

Going through and identifying quality research and identifying where/why discrepancies occur is a good indications of well designed research.


Conclusion 1

There does not appear to be any credible evidence that acupuncture works.


Conclusion 2

 To quote the study:
"Ninety-five cases of severe adverse effects including 5 fatalities were included. Pneumothorax and infections were the most frequently reported adverse effects"

That does not sound safe.


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