Objectives: The efficacy of conventional treatments plus acupuncture for asthma in adult and adolescent is uncertain. Literature reports are conflicting; therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of conventional treatments plus acupuncture versus conventional treatments alone using a meta-analysis of all published randomized clinical trials (RCTs).
Methods: Two reviewers independently performed a comprehensive literature search from multiple electronic sources (1990-2018), including PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and WanFang databases. RCTs in which adult and adolescent patients with asthma (age ≥12 years) were divided into conventional treatments plus acupuncture and conventional treatments alone were included.
Results: Nine studies were included. The results showed that conventional treatments plus acupuncture as a complementary therapy could improve the symptom response rate (OR = 7.87, 95% CI = [4.13, 14.99], p < 0.00001) and significantly decrease interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels (MD = -11.42; 95% CI = [-15.28, -7.56], p < 0.00001). However, indices of pulmonary function, including the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (MD = 0.22, 95% CI = [-0.11, 0.56], p = 0.19) and FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC) (MD = 8.62, 95% CI = [-0.35, 17.59], p = 0.06), failed to be improved with conventional treatments plus acupuncture.
Conclusion: Conventional treatments plus acupuncture are associated with significant benefits for adult and adolescent patients with asthma. Therefore, we suggest the use of conventional treatments plus acupuncture for asthma patients.