Monday, 27 March 2017 16:14

Update on acupuncture for chronic pain: a new analysis of clinical effects and long-term outcome trajectories - Prof Hugh MacPherson

The Acupuncture Trialists Collaboration published a seminal paper on acupuncture for chronic pain in 2012, which already has been cited over 500 times. The chronic pain conditions included back and neck pain, shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and headache and migraine. In this presentation Hugh will provide an update of the results, with the addition of data from 10 more trials published between 2008 and 2015, totalling of 39 trials and over 20,000 patients.

The findings reinforce the message of the original meta-analysis, namely that acupuncture has a moderate effect when compared to non-acupuncture controls (such as usual care or wait-list) and a small effect when compared to sham acupuncture. The main criticism of the study, that the difference between acupuncture and sham is too small to be meaningful, will be addressed by comparing effect sizes across a range of interventions vs. sham or placebo. Also new data will be presented on the trajectory of reported outcomes, estimating that only 15% of the benefit is lost at 12 months after treatment.

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