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Acupuncture for patients with chronic functional constipation:

A randomized controlled trial.

 

The three acupuncture treatments were as effective as the drug mosapride in improving stool frequency and stool consistency in chronic functional constipation.

Background of this study:

Acupuncture is used to treat chronic functional constipation (CFC) in China, despite limited evidence. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture in managing CFC.

Methods of this study:

A multicentre randomized controlled trial was performed involving 684 patients with CFC; the patients were randomly allocated to receive He acupuncture (n = 172), Shu-mu acupuncture (n = 171), He-shu-mu acupuncture (n = 171), or oral administration of the drug mosapride (n = 170). Sixteen sessions of acupuncture were given in the treatment duration of 4 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) at week 4 (at the end of treatment) compared to baseline. The secondary outcomes included stool consistency (Bristol scale), the degree of straining during defecation, and adverse events.

Key results of this study:

The spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) increased in all the four groups at week 4, and the magnitude of increase was equivalent in the four groups (He acupuncture, 2.7 [95% CI, 2.3-3.1]; Shu-mu acupuncture, 2.7 [95% CI, 2.3-3.0]; He-shu-mu acupuncture, 2.2 [95% CI, 1.9-2.5]; and mosapride, 2.4 [95% CI, 2.0-2.9]; P = .226). However, the change in SBMs at week 8 was significantly smaller in mosapride group (1.4 [95% CI, 1.0-1.8]) than the three acupuncture groups (2.4 [95% CI, 2.1-2.7], 2.3 [95% CI, 1.9-2.7], 2.1 [95% CI, 1.7-2.5] in He, Shu-mu, and He-shu-mu group, respectively, P = .005).

 Conclusions and interferences of this study:

The three acupuncture treatments were as effective as the drug mosapride in improving stool frequency and stool consistency in chronic functional constipation, but the magnitude of the treatment effect is unknown due to the lack of sham acupuncture control.

© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
©  The Author(s).
Zheng H,
Liu ZS,
Zhang W,
Chen M,
Zhong F,
Jing XH,
Rong PJ,
Zhu WZ,
Wang FC,
Liu ZB,
Tang CZ,
Wang SJ,
Zhou MQ,
Li Y,
Zhu B.

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2018 Jul;30(7):e13307. doi: 10.1111/nmo.13307. Epub 2018 Feb 2.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29392784

Note: the common side effects of the drug mosapride include dry mouth, abdominal pain, dizziness, headache, insomnia, malaise, nausea and diarrhea.

Further Reading:
Poo, Poop, Stools and Bowel Movements