Effect of acupuncture on diabetic peripheral neuropathy: an uncontrolled preliminary study from Korea

Acupunct Med. 2014 Aug;32(4):350-2. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010479. Epub 2014 May 13.


Background: Diabetic neuropathic pain can severely influence quality of life, and patients may be dissatisfied with treatment.

Objective: To carry out an observational study of the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain, in preparation for a full study.

Methods: Nine patients with diabetic neuropathic pain were recruited from a Korean diabetic clinic and given 12 sessions of acupuncture over 4 weeks. Their symptoms were evaluated using the Total Symptom Score (TSS) and Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI) at baseline and 4 weeks after the last treatment.

Results: Mean TSS scores reduced from 7.99 (SD 3.55) at baseline to 4.95 (SD 4.41), at the 8-week follow-up-a statistically non-significant change (p=0.057). The MNSI scores improved from 6.33 (SD 1.31) before treatment to 4.33 (SD 3.00) after acupuncture treatment-a significant improvement (p=0.010). One participant experienced an exacerbation of diabetic neuropathy symptoms, but two patients gained complete relief of their diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) symptoms.

Conclusions: The results of this study justify further investigations into the effects of acupuncture on DPN.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Diabetes; Neurology.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Republic of Korea
  • Young Adult