Patient - Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Acupuncture

    Bensoussan A, Talley NJ, Hing M, et al."Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with Chinese herbal medicine: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 280(18):1585-9, 1998 Nov 11.
    This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial studied the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the treatment of IBS. A total of 116 patients with established IBS were recruited through 2 teaching hospitals and 5 private practices of gastroenterologists, and received CHM in 3 Chinese herbal clinics. Patients were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 treatment groups: individualized Chinese herbal formulations (n = 38), a standard Chinese herbal formulation (n = 43), or placebo (n = 35) and all received 5 capsules 3 times daily for 16 weeks. Compared with patients in the placebo group, patients in the standard and individualized CHM groups had both significant improvement in bowel symptom scores and significant global improvement as rated by patients and gastroenterologists. Patients reported that treatment significantly reduced the degree of interference with life caused by IBS symptoms. Chinese herbal formulations individually tailored to the patient proved no more effective than standard CHM treatment. On follow-up 14 weeks after completion of treatment, however, only the individualized CHM treatment group maintained improvement. CONCLUSION: Chinese herbal formulations appear to offer improvement in symptoms for some patients with IBS.

    Fireman Z, Segal A, Kopelman Y, et al. "Acupuncture treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. A double-blind controlled study." Digestion. 64(2):100-3, 2001.
    This study compared the responses of those with IBS to true acupuncture versus sham acupuncture in a controlled double-blind study. Twenty-five patients with IBS symptoms lasting for more than 1 year comprised the final study population. True acupuncture was performed at point LI-4 (colonic meridian, needle only) and sham acupuncture at point BL-60 (urinary vesicle meridian, needle only). The effect of the first true acupuncture session on overall symptoms and abdominal pain was a clear and significant improvement. No comparable effect was seen in the second session. Although the true acupuncture results were consistently better, no difference was found between the two groups in the overall statistical analysis.

    Acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    This study is currently recruiting patients.
    Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NCCAM and NIDDK). The purpose of this study is to determine whether acupuncture is effective in reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
    Study Design: Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Control, Parallel Assignment, Efficacy Study.
    Study location:Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, General Clinical Research Center, Boston, MA.
    Recruiting: Lisa A. Conboy, ScD 617-384-8565. lisa_conboy@hms.harvard.edu Ted Kaptchuk, OMD, Principal Investigator.