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J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Dec;23(12):930-940. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0158. Epub 2017 Jun 19.

Acupuncture-Related Techniques for Psoriasis: A Systematic Review with Pairwise and Network Meta-Analyses of Randomized Controlled Trials.

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1 Graduate Institute of Integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences , Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China .
2 Chong-Ren Hospital , Miaoli, Taiwan, Republic of China .
3 School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences , Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China .
4 Department of Dermatology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Chang Gung University College of Medicine , Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China .
5 Department of Nursing, Yuanpei University of Medical Technology , Hsinchu, Taiwan, Republic of China .



There has be a large body of evidence on the pharmacological treatments for psoriasis, but whether nonpharmacological interventions are effective in managing psoriasis remains largely unclear. This systematic review conducted pairwise and network meta-analyses to determine the effects of acupuncture-related techniques on acupoint stimulation for the treatment of psoriasis and to determine the order of effectiveness of these remedies.


This study searched the following databases from inception to March 15, 2016: Medline, PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EBSCO (including Academic Search Premier, American Doctoral Dissertations, and CINAHL), Airiti Library, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effects of acupuncture-related techniques on acupoint stimulation as intervention for psoriasis were independently reviewed by two researchers.


A total of 13 RCTs with 1,060 participants were included. The methodological quality of included studies was not rigorous. Acupoint stimulation, compared with nonacupoint stimulation, had a significant treatment for psoriasis. However, the most common adverse events were thirst and dry mouth. Subgroup analysis was further done to confirm that the short-term treatment effect was superior to that of the long-term effect in treating psoriasis. Network meta-analysis identified acupressure or acupoint catgut embedding, compared with medication, and had a significant effect for improving psoriasis. It was noted that acupressure was the most effective treatment.


Acupuncture-related techniques could be considered as an alternative or adjuvant therapy for psoriasis in short term, especially of acupressure and acupoint catgut embedding. This study recommends further well-designed, methodologically rigorous, and more head-to-head randomized trials to explore the effects of acupuncture-related techniques for treating psoriasis.


acupoint stimulation; acupressure; acupuncture; bloodletting; catgut embedding; network meta-analysis; pairwise meta-analysis; psoriasis; systematic review

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