Objective: To evaluate the effect and safety of acupuncture treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by using systematic review in view of evidence-based medicine (EBM).
Methods: Original articles about acupuncture treatment of PCOS published from the database-established year to November of 2013 were searched from the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure Database (CNKI), Chongqing VIP Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database (VIP), Chinese Biomedical Library (CBM), Wanfang Data, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library and the associated references-indicated papers by using keywords of polycystic ovary syndrome, randomization, acupoint, acupuncture, acupuncture plus moxibustion, acupuncture plus acupoint-embedment of catgut, and acupuncture plus otopoint application. Those articles about treatment of PCOS with simple abdominal acupuncture, simple acupoint-embedment of catgut, simple otopoint-pellet-pressure, and simple moxibustion treatment, and simple abstracts were excluded. If the articles re-published in both Chinese and English and in academic conferences and journals, one of them with higher quality was included. Two independent reviewers extracted data from located articles in a pre-defined structured way, and the Meta-analysis was conducted using software RevMan 5.2, otherwise using the qualitative analysis.
Results: A total of 31 articles (28 in Chinese, 3 in English) containing 2,321 cases of PCOS patients met the included criteria. Meta-analysis showed that the clinical efficacy of simple acupuncture was the same as that of western medicine, and the efficacy of acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine interventions was obviously higher than that of western medicine (P < 0.05). In addition, simple acupuncture intervention and acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicines or with moxibustion treatment have advantages in reducing serum luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone (LH/FSH), insulin resistance (IR), testosterone (T), and body mass index (BMI). However, the quality of the collected articles is generally lower due to unclear bias, no sample quantity estimation, incorrect randomization methods, no follow-up survey, etc.
Conclusion: Acupuncture therapy may be effective for PCOS, but needs to be confirmed further by larger sample randomized controlled trials.