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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010 Jul;40(1):117-25.

Acupuncture for treating uremic pruritus in patients with end-stage renal disease: a systematic review.

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Acpuncture, Moxibustion, & Meridian Research Center, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.


Uremic pruritus (UP) is a common and bothersome symptom in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that does not always respond to conventional care. Acupuncture is frequently used for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, but its effects on UP in ESRD patients are unclear. The objective of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for UP in patients with ESRD. We searched 16 electronic databases from their inception to November 2009. All prospective clinical studies of needle acupuncture for UP in hemodialysis patients with ESRD were included regardless of their design. Risk of bias of the included studies was assessed using the Cochrane criteria. Three randomized controlled trials and three uncontrolled observational studies were included. All of the included trials reported beneficial effects of acupuncture. However, most of the studies showed high risk of bias, which leaves their reports unconvincing. The current evidence is insufficient to show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for UP inpatients with ESRD because of suboptimal quality and lack of methodological rigor of included studies. Future trials should overcome the limitations of the currently available evidence. J Pain Symptom Manage 2010;40:117e125. 2010 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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