Laser Acupuncture for the Treatment of Asthma in Children: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.

Author: Zhang J, Li X, Xu J, Ernst E.
Evidence-Based Medicine Center, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Tianjin , PR China.
Conference/Journal: J Asthma.
Date published: 2012 Aug 9
Other: Word Count: 219

Background and objectives. Laser acupuncture has often been recommended as a treatment of asthma. The technique is noninvasive, and seems particularly suitable for children. However, the results from several clinical trials are contradictory. The objective of this review was to assess the effectiveness of laser acupuncture in the treatment of childhood asthma. Methods. Literature searches of electronic database were conducted in The Cochrane Library, Medline, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, and two Chinese literature databases (CNKI and VIP) up to February 2012. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) testing laser acupuncture for asthma in children were included. No language restrictions were applied. Three authors independently selected articles, extracted data, and assessed trial quality. Results. Our searches identified 13 potential eligible studies, of which three with a total number of 176 patients met our inclusion criteria. The quality of included RCTs were low. One RCT with a parallel group design showed positive results, while two crossover RCTs generated negative results. There was variation in the type of patients, the interventions, and outcome measures. Because of the significant clinical and methodological heterogeneity, no meta-analysis was performed. Conclusions. The number of RCTs and their total sample sizes are small; and their methodological quality is low. Therefore, no compelling evidence exists to suggest that laser acupuncture is not an effective treatment for childhood asthma. Further rigorous studies are warranted.
PMID: 22873427