Auriculotherapy for pain management: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Gary N. Asher, Daniel E. Jonas, Remy R. Coeytaux, Aimee C. Reilly, Yen L. Loh, Alison A. Motsinger-Reif, Stacey J Winham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Side-effects of standard pain medications can limit their use. Therefore, nonpharmacologic pain relief techniques such as auriculotherapy may play an important role in pain management. Our aim was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating auriculotherapy for pain management. Design: MEDLINE,® ISI Web of Science, CINAHL, AMED, and Cochrane Library were searched through December 2008. Randomized trials comparing auriculotherapy to sham, placebo, or standard-of-care control were included that measured outcomes of pain or medication use and were published in English. Two (2) reviewers independently assessed trial eligibility, quality, and abstracted data to a standardized form. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated for studies using a pain score or analgesic requirement as a primary outcome. Results: Seventeen (17) studies met inclusion criteria (8 perioperative, 4 acute, and 5 chronic pain). Auriculotherapy was superior to controls for studies evaluating pain intensity (SMD, 1.56 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.85, 2.26]; 8 studies). For perioperative pain, auriculotherapy reduced analgesic use (SMD, 0.54 [95% CI: 0.30, 0.77]; 5 studies). For acute pain and chronic pain, auriculotherapy reduced pain intensity (SMD for acute pain, 1.35 [95% CI: 0.08, 2.64], 2 studies; SMD for chronic pain, 1.84 [95% CI: 0.60, 3.07], 5 studies). Removal of poor quality studies did not alter the conclusions. Significant heterogeneity existed among studies of acute and chronic pain, but not perioperative pain. Conclusions: Auriculotherapy may be effective for the treatment of a variety of types of pain, especially postoperative pain. However, a more accurate estimate of the effect will require further large, well-designed trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1097-1108
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

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Auriculotherapy
Pain Management
Meta-Analysis
Randomized Controlled Trials
Pain
Chronic Pain
Acute Pain
Confidence Intervals
Analgesics
Standard of Care
Postoperative Pain
MEDLINE
Libraries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

Cite this

Auriculotherapy for pain management : A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. / Asher, Gary N.; Jonas, Daniel E.; Coeytaux, Remy R.; Reilly, Aimee C.; Loh, Yen L.; Motsinger-Reif, Alison A.; Winham, Stacey J.

In: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 16, No. 10, 01.10.2010, p. 1097-1108.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Asher, Gary N. ; Jonas, Daniel E. ; Coeytaux, Remy R. ; Reilly, Aimee C. ; Loh, Yen L. ; Motsinger-Reif, Alison A. ; Winham, Stacey J. / Auriculotherapy for pain management : A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010 ; Vol. 16, No. 10. pp. 1097-1108.
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abstract = "Objectives: Side-effects of standard pain medications can limit their use. Therefore, nonpharmacologic pain relief techniques such as auriculotherapy may play an important role in pain management. Our aim was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating auriculotherapy for pain management. Design: MEDLINE,{\circledR} ISI Web of Science, CINAHL, AMED, and Cochrane Library were searched through December 2008. Randomized trials comparing auriculotherapy to sham, placebo, or standard-of-care control were included that measured outcomes of pain or medication use and were published in English. Two (2) reviewers independently assessed trial eligibility, quality, and abstracted data to a standardized form. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated for studies using a pain score or analgesic requirement as a primary outcome. Results: Seventeen (17) studies met inclusion criteria (8 perioperative, 4 acute, and 5 chronic pain). Auriculotherapy was superior to controls for studies evaluating pain intensity (SMD, 1.56 [95{\%} confidence interval (CI): 0.85, 2.26]; 8 studies). For perioperative pain, auriculotherapy reduced analgesic use (SMD, 0.54 [95{\%} CI: 0.30, 0.77]; 5 studies). For acute pain and chronic pain, auriculotherapy reduced pain intensity (SMD for acute pain, 1.35 [95{\%} CI: 0.08, 2.64], 2 studies; SMD for chronic pain, 1.84 [95{\%} CI: 0.60, 3.07], 5 studies). Removal of poor quality studies did not alter the conclusions. Significant heterogeneity existed among studies of acute and chronic pain, but not perioperative pain. Conclusions: Auriculotherapy may be effective for the treatment of a variety of types of pain, especially postoperative pain. However, a more accurate estimate of the effect will require further large, well-designed trials.",
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