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Electro-acupuncture (EA) should be recommended as a non-pharmacological treatment for pain reduction in painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDN), according to the authors of a study carried out in Korea. A total of 126 participants with a six-month history of PDN were randomly assigned to an EA group or a control group. Participants in the EA group received 2 Hz/120 Hz electrostimulation at 12 acupuncture points (bilateral Zusanli ST-36, Xuanzhong GB-39, Yinlingquan SP-9, Sanyinjiao SP-6, Taichong LIV-3 and Zulinqi GB-41, plus Bafeng M-LE-8 if required) twice per week for eight weeks. Participants in the control group did not receive EA. Both groups received education on diet and lifestyle modification, and anti-diabetes medications and rescue analgesics were allowed throughout the study. Patients in the EA group showed significantly more improvement in pain scores than those in the control group. Among the patients receiving EA treatment, 15.52 per cent were classified as responders (those achieving a reduction of greater than 50 per cent in pain score), while only 6.25 per cent of patients in the control group were classed this way. The EA treatment group also showed significantly greater improvement than controls in sleep and quality of life scores. The percentage of patients reporting global improvement was greater in the EA group (82.5 per cent) than in the control group (34.1 per cent) at week 9. This improvement was maintained through eight weeks of follow up. There were no differences in rescue medication consumption or nerve conduction studies between the groups.

Electroacupuncture for Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Multicenter, Randomized, Assessor-Blinded, Controlled Trial. Diabetes Care. 2018 Jul 30. pii: dc181254.


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