EMAIL THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND

Medicine

Effect and safety of deep needling and shallow needling for functional constipation: a multicenter, randomized controlled trial.


PMID 25526462

Abstract

Aupuncture is widely used for functional constipation. Effect of acupuncture might be related to the depth of needling; however, the evidence is limited. This trial aimed to evaluate the effect and safety of deep needling and shallow needling for functional constipation, and to assess if the deep needling and shallow needling are superior to lactulose. We conducted a prospective, superiority-design, 5-center, 3-arm randomized controlled trial. A total of 475 patients with functional constipation were randomized to the deep needling group (237), shallow needling group (119), and lactulose-controlled group (119) in a ratio of 2:1:1. Sessions lasted 30 minutes each time and took place 5 times a week for 4 weeks in 2 acupuncture groups. Participants in the lactulose group took lactulose orally for 16 continuous weeks. The primary outcome was the change from baseline of mean weekly spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) during week 1 to 4 (changes from the baselines of the weekly SBMs at week 8 and week 16 in follow-up period were also assessed simultaneously). Secondary outcomes were the weekly SBMs of each assessing week, the mean score change from the baseline of constipation-related symptoms over week 1 to 4, and the time to the first SBM. Emergency drug usage and adverse effects were monitored throughout the study.SBMs and constipation-related symptoms were all improved in the 3 groups compared with baseline at each time frame (P<0.01, all). The changes in the mean weekly SBMs over week 1 to 4 were 2 (1.75) in the deep needling group, 2 (1.75) in the shallow needling group, and 2 (2) in the lactulose group (P>0.05, both compared with the lactulose group). The changes of mean weekly SBMs at week 8 and week 16 in the follow-up period were 2 (2), 2 (2.5) in the deep needling group, 2 (3), 1.5 (2.5) in the shallow needling group, and 1 (2), 1 (2) in the lactulose group (P<0.05, all compared with the lactulose group). No significant difference was observed among the 3 groups regarding the score changes of straining, incomplete evacuation, abdominal distention during spontaneous defecating, or Cleveland Clinic Scores over week 1 to 4. However, the lactulose group got better effect than other 2 acupuncture groups in improving stool consistency (P<0.01, both) and shortening the time to the first SBM (P<0.05, both). The percentage of emergency drugs used in the 2 acupuncture groups were both lower than in the lactulose group at each time frame (P<0.01, all). No obvious adverse event was observed in the deep or shallow needling group. Deep and shallow needling at Tianshu (ST25) can improve intestinal function remarkably and safely. Therapeutic effects of deep and shallow needling are not superior to that of lactulose; however, the sustained effects of deep and shallow needling after stopping the acupuncture treatments are superior to the therapeutic effect of lactulose, which might qualify the superiority of deep and shallow needling.