Analysis and Thoughts about the Negative Results of International Clinical Trials on Acupuncture.
An increasing number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture have proved the clinical benefits of acupuncture; however, there are some results that have shown negative results or placebo effects. The paper carried out an in-depth analysis on 33 RCTs in the 2011 SCI database, the quality of the reports was judged according to Jadad scores, and the “Necessary Information Included in Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA 2010)” was taken as the standard to analyze the rationality of the therapeutic principle. The difference between the methodology (Jadad) scores of the two types of research reports did not constitute statistical significance (P > 0.05). The studies with negative results or placebo effects showed the following deficiencies with respect to intervention details: (1) incompletely rational acupoint selection; (2) inconsistent ability of acupuncturists; (3) negligible needling response to needling; (4) acupuncture treatment frequency too low in most studies; and (5) irrational setting of placebo control. Thus, the primary basis for the negative results or placebo effects of international clinical trials on acupuncture is not in the quality of the methodology, but in noncompliance with the essential requirements proposed by acupuncture theory in terms of clinical manipulation details.