Acupuncture for Functional Dyspepsia: What Strength Does It Have? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:3862916. doi: 10.1155/2016/3862916. Epub 2016 Dec 29.


Background. Although the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy on functional dyspepsia (FD) has been systematically reviewed, the available reports are still contradictive and no robust evidence has been provided to date. Objective. To assess the current evidence of high quality on the effects of acupuncture for patients with FD. Methods. A comprehensive literature database search was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing acupuncture therapies (including manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture) to sham acupuncture and medication use. A meta-analysis was performed following a strict methodology. Results. 16 RCTs involving 1436 participants were included. The majority of the trials were determined to be of low quality. Positive results were found for acupuncture in improving the Nepean Dyspepsia Index (NDI) and scores of the MOS 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), as well as in alleviating relevant symptoms (especially postprandial fullness and early satiation) of FD patients. Conclusion. Based on current available evidence, acupuncture therapy achieves statistically significant effect for FD in comparison with sham acupuncture and is superior to medication (prokinetic agents) in improving the symptoms and quality of life of FD patients. Nonetheless, despite stringent methodological analyses, the conclusion of our review still needs to be strengthened by additional RCTs of higher quality.

Publication types

  • Review