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Research: Lupus

Acupuncture for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Pilot RCT Feasibility and Safety Study

Journal: Lupus, Volume 17, Issue 12, pages 1108-1116.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of studying acupuncture in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and to pilot test the safety and explore benefits of a standardized acupuncture protocol designed to reduce pain and fatigue. Twenty-four patients with SLE were randomly assigned to receive 10 sessions of either acupuncture, minimal needling or usual care. Pain, fatigue and SLE disease activity were assessed at baseline and following the last sessions. Safety was assessed at each session. Fifty-two patients were screened to enroll 24 eligible and interested persons. Although transient side effects, such as brief needling pain and lightheadedness, were reported, no serious adverse events were associated with either the acupuncture or minimal needling procedures. Twenty-two participants completed the study, and the majority (85%) of acupuncture and minimal needling participants were able to complete their sessions within the specified time period of 5-6 weeks. 40% of patients who received acupuncture or minimal needling had >/=30% improvement on standard measures of pain, but no usual care patients showed improvement in pain. A ten-session course of acupuncture appears feasible and safe for patients with SLE. Benefits were similar for acupuncture and minimal needling.

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