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Acupuncture and asthma: a review of controlled trials.
  1. J Kleijnen,
  2. G ter Riet,
  3. P Knipschild
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


    BACKGROUND: Published controlled trials of acupuncture in asthma have often contained a small number of subjects and the results are contradictory. Controlled trials have been reviewed to determine whether clearer conclusions could be obtained by assessing as many studies as possible according to methodological criteria. METHODS: A literature search produced 13 trials on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of patients with asthma. These studies were reviewed on the basis of 18 predefined methodological criteria. A maximum of 100 points for study design could be earned in three main categories: (a) adequate study population, (b) adequate intervention, and (c) adequate measurement of effects. RESULTS: The quality of even the eight better studies (more than 50% of the maximum score) proved to be mediocre. No study earned more than 72% of the maximum score. The results from the better studies are highly contradictory. CONCLUSIONS: Claims that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of asthma are not based on the results of well performed clinical trials.

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