Acupuncture and Chronic Painful Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy
16 May 2008
In a study carried out at the University of Manchester, UK, forty-six diabetic patients with chronic painful peripheral neuropathy were treated with acupuncture to determine its efficacy and long-term effectiveness. Patients initially received up to six courses of classical acupuncture over a period of 10 weeks, using traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture points. Of forty-four patients who completed the study, 34 (77%) showed significant improvement in their primary and/or secondary symptoms. These patients were followed up for a period of up to a year, with 67% able to stop or reduce their medications significantly. During the follow-up period only eight (24%) patients required further acupuncture treatment. Although 34 patients noted significant improvement in their symptoms, only seven reported complete disappearance of symptoms. All the patients but one finished the full course of acupuncture treatment without reported or observed side effects. There were no significant changes either in the peripheral neurological examination scores, VPT or in HbA1c during the course of treatment. The data suggested that acupuncture is a safe and effective therapy for the long-term management of painful diabetic neuropathy, although its mechanism of action remains speculative. (Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 39(2):115-21 1998 Feb).