Acupuncture Puts a Pin in Chronic Pelvic Pain

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A multicentre randomised trial showed that eight weeks of acupuncture sessions improved symptoms of moderate to severe chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) to a greater extent than sham therapy. Treatment effects endured over 24 weeks follow up. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

CP/CPPS manifests as discomfort or pain in the pelvic region for at least three of the previous six months with no infection, with possible involvement of lower urinary tract symptoms, psychological issues, and sexual dysfunction. Men with CP/CPPS may have a poor quality of life associated with the disorder, such as inflammation in the prostate, anxiety and stress, and dyssynergic voiding. Standard care involves antibiotics, a-blockers, and anti-inflammatories, but their effectiveness is limited and long-term use is associated with adverse events. Though promising as an alternative treatment, acupuncture lacks high quality evidence.

A total of 440 male participants were randomised to either 8 weeks of acupuncture or sham therapy to assess the long-term efficacy of acupuncture for improving symptoms of CP/CPPS. The treatment was considered effective if participants achieved a clinically important reduction of at least 6 points from baseline on the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index at weeks 8 and 32. Between-group difference to be statistically significant at both time points for sustained efficacy. 

More participants in the acupuncture group reported marked or moderate improvements in symptoms at all assessment points compared to the sham control group. No significant difference was found in changes in International Index of Erectile Function 5 score at all assessment time points or in peak and average urinary flow rates at week 8. No serious adverse events were reported in either group.

According to the researchers, these findings show long-term efficacy of acupuncture and provide high-quality evidence for clinical practice and guideline recommendations.

Source: Medical Xpress

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