Acupuncture and moxibustion for inflammatory bowel diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:158352. doi: 10.1155/2013/158352. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Background. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are recurrent and refractory which include ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Clinical researches about acupuncture and moxibustion treatments for IBD are increasing, while systematic reviews about their efficacy remains in a shortage. This study sought to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion for IBD. Methods. Seven significant databases both in and abroad were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which compared acupuncture and moxibustion as the main intervention to pharmacotherapy in treating IBD. A meta-analysis was performed. Results. A total of 43 RCTs were included. Among the 43 included trials, 10 trials compared oral sulphasalazine (SASP) with acupuncture and/or moxibustion treatments. A meta-analysis of the 10 trials indicated that acupuncture and moxibustion therapy was superior to oral SASP. Conclusion. Acupuncture and moxibustion therapy demonstrates better efficacy than oral SASP in treating IBD. However, given the limitations of this systematic review and the included literature, definitive conclusions regarding the exact efficacy of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment for IBD cannot be drawn. Extant RCTs still cannot provide sufficient evidence and multicentre, double-blind RCTs with large sample sizes are needed to provide higher-quality evidence.

Publication types

  • Review