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Electroacupuncture Improves Pain and Sleep for PDN Patients

For those with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common complications.

A PPM Brief

A new study1 evaluated the effectiveness and safety of electroacupuncture (EA) for the management of painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) in patients with Type 2 diabetes. This multicenter, randomized, assessor-blinded, controlled trial was conducted between June 2014 and March 2016 at four centers in South Korea. A total of 126 participants with a 6-month history of PDN and a mean weekly pain score of 4 on the Pain Intensity Numerical Rating Scale (PI-NRS) were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to an EA group (n = 63) or control group (n = 63). Patients in the EA group received treatment twice per week for 8 weeks.

Patients in the EA group showed significantly more improvement in PI-NRS scores than those in the control group (least squares mean difference 20.67 [95% CI 21.29 to 20.06]; P = 0.0136). Among the patients receiving EA treatment, nine (15.52%) were responders, while only three (6.25%) patients in the control group were responders (P = 0.2176). The EA treatment group also showed significantly greater improvement than the controls on the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire, sleep interference scores, and the EuroQol-5 Dimensions at the 9th week (P = 0.05). The percentage of patients reporting improvement in the Patient Global Impression of Change was greater in the EA group (82.5%) than in the control group (34.1%) at the ninth week.

Results of this study demonstrate that EA treatment may be effective for reducing pain and improving sleep disturbance and quality of life in diabetics living with peripheral neuropathy, as well as a well-tolerated safety profile. Researchers noted that, to their knowledge, this is the first multicenter randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of electroacupuncture treatment for the condition. “These findings suggest that EA treatment may be recommended as a nonpharmacological treatment for pain reduction in PDN,” they concluded in their paper.

Last updated on: December 9, 2019
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