Background: Overactive bladder is stated as the occurrence of urinary urgency which will cause negative impacts and decrease patients' health-related quality of life. The aim of this systematic review is to assess the efficiency and safety of acupuncture for adults with overactive bladder (OAB) comparing with sham-acupuncture, drugs, and acupuncture plus drugs.
Methods: We independently searched 9 databases from beginning to August 15, 2017. Two writers extracted data at the same time independently. Study outcomes were calculated by standardized mean differences (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and mean difference (MD) with 95% CIs.
Results: Ten randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 794 patients were included in this systematic review. The combined results showed that electroacupuncture (EA) may be more effective than sham electroacupuncture (sham EA) in improving the 24-hour nocturia episodes and EA may enhance tolterodine for relieving voiding symptoms and enhancing patients' quality of life. However, more trials with high quality and larger sample sizes will be needed in the future to provide sufficient evidence. Only 15 of 794 OAB patients from the included studies reported mild adverse reactions related to EA, therefore, acupuncture is safe for treating OAB.
Conclusion: Acupuncture might have effect in decreasing the number of micturition episodes, incontinence episodes, and nocturia episodes. However, the evidence is insufficient to show the effect using acupuncture alone or the additional effect to drugs in treating OAB.