Research: PARK, WHITE and ERNST

Listed in Issue 55

Abstract

PARK, WHITE and ERNST, Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, UK. J.B. Park@exeter.ac.uk summarized and critically reviewed all randomized controlled trials regarding the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for tinnitus.

Background

Tinnitus is a prevalent condition with no effective conventional treatment, for which patients may seek acupuncture treatment.

Methodology

The authors conducted 4 independent computerized literature searches in December 1998 on MEDLINE, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Embase and CISCOM databases, using the key words acupuncture and tinnitus. All randomized controlled trials which compared any form of acupuncture with any control intervention in the treatment of tinnitus were included. Data were extracted by two authors independently, and the methodological quality of the included trials were assessed using the Jadad score. Six randomized controlled trials were included in the review, four of which used crossover design. Four studies used manual acupuncture and two used electroacupuncture. Five of six studies used inconsistent acupoints; three studies scored 3 points or more on the Jadad scale. The Outcome measurements were visual analog scale scores for loudness, annoyance, an awareness of tinnitus; subjective severity scale scores for tinnitus, or Nottingham Health Profile scores.

Results

Two unblinded studies showed a positive result, whereas four blinded studies showed no significant effect of acupuncture.

Conclusion

Acupuncture has not been demonstrated to be efficacious as a treatment for tinnitus on the evidence of rigorous randomized controlled trials.

References

Park J, White AR, and Ernst E. Efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for tinnitus: a systematic review. Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 126(4): 489-92. Apr 2000.

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