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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:208690. doi: 10.1155/2015/208690. Epub 2015 Apr 30.

Efficacy of Acupuncture in Itch: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Randomized Controlled Trials.

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Department of Neurobiology, Tongji Medical School, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430030, China.
Department of Orthopedics, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430030, China.
Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China.



Itch (pruritus) is a sensitive state that provokes the desire to scratch. It is not only a common symptom of skin diseases but it also occurs in some systemic diseases. Clinical studies on the efficacy of the acupuncture therapy in alleviating itch are increasing, while systematic reviews assessing the efficacy of acupuncture therapy are still lacking.


This systematic review aims to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for itch.


A comprehensive literature search of eight databases was performed up to June 2014, and randomized controlled trials which compared acupuncture therapy and placebo acupuncture or no treatment group were identified. Accordingly, a meta-analysis was conducted.


This review included three articles of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from a total of 2530 articles. The results of Meta-analysis showed that acupuncture therapy was effective to alleviate itch compared with placebo acupuncture and no treatment group.


Based on the findings of this systematic review, we cautiously suggest that acupuncture therapy could improve the clinical efficacy of itch. However, this conclusion needs more studies on various ethnic samples to confirm our final conclusion.

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