Objective: To explore the short and long-term efficacy of combining Fuzhengliqi mixture (FLM) with acupuncture in treating functional constipation (FC).
Methods: The 560 patients with confirmed diagnosis of FC were randomly assigned to four groups: FLM group, acupuncture group, combined therapy group, and control group. There were 140 cases in each group. The FLM group was administered FLM 60 mL twice a day, while the acupuncture group was treated with acupuncture at acupoints Tianshu (ST 25), Shangjuxu (ST 37), Zusanli (ST 36), Dachangshu (BL 25), and Zhigou (TE 6) twice a day, the combined therapy group with FLM and acupuncture, and the control group was administered mosapride (5 mg thrice a day) and Macrogol 4000 (10 g twice a day). The treatment lasted 6 weeks. The defecation interval, stool property, constipation symptoms, and accompanying symptoms were recorded, graded, and scored. The gastrointestinal transit time (GITT) and motilin (MTL) level in serum and life quality score were detected at three time points (pre-treatment, at the end of treatment, and 60 weeks post-treatment). Moreover, the adverse reactions were also observed.
Results: In the FLM group 2 cases were eliminated for not taking medication strictly according to the research plan and 1 case was lost to follow-up, while 2 cases in the acupuncture group and 2 cases in the combined therapy group were lost to follow-up. Compared with those detected pre-treatment, the defecation interval, stool property, constipation symptom grade, accompanying symptom grade, and GITT were all decreased markedly at the end of treatment in every group, while the MTL levels in serum and life quality score were increased markedly (P < 0.01), the above-mentioned detecting indices were better in the combined therapy group than those in other groups (P < 0.05). Compared with the end of treatment, above-mentioned detecting indices all recurred significantly in the FLM group and control group 60 weeks post-treatment (P > 0.05), but these indices recurred insignificantly in the acupuncture and combined therapy groups (P > 0.05). The short and long-term total effective rates in the combined therapy group were significantly different from those in other groups (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). No serious adverse reactions were found in four groups.
Conclusion: Both FLM and acupuncture can significantly shorten the defecation interval and GITT, increase MTL levels in serum, decrease the scores of stool property, constipation symptoms, and accompanying symptoms in patients with FC to increase their life quality. The combined therapy is much better in long-term efficacy and the safety is also good, worth spreading in clinical practice.