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Acupuncture is more helpful for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus than expected

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

Manuscript title: Acupuncture for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials


Background: Acupuncture has been used to treat type 2 diabetes (T2DM) for 2,000 years

and there are emerging clinical evidence and animal studies for its efficacy. However, we

are unable to conclude the effectiveness and safety on this issue yet.

Objectives: To assess the effects and safety of acupuncture for T2DM.

Methods: We systematically searched 5 databases and 2 clinical registry platforms from

inception to 2018-6-4. RCTs for acupuncture or its variants compared with sham

acupuncture or no acupuncture controls for T2DM were included. The primary outcomes

were glycemic control and adverse events.

Results: A total of 21 studies, which comprised a total of 1,943 participants, were included

in the final meta-analysis. Compared with sham acupuncture or no acupuncture plus

baseline treatments, acupuncture plus baseline treatments yield reduction in FBG(MD

1.21mmol/l, 95%CI 1.56 to 0.87), 2h BG(MD 2.13mmol/l, 95%CI 2.79 to 1.46), HA1c (MD 1.12%, 95%CI 1.62 to 0.62). Our results also show acupuncture can improve blood lipids and blood pressure control, and reduce weight.

Conclusions: As one type of multifactorial intervention, acupuncture could be

recommended as a supplementary treatment in the management of T2DM, especially in

those with obesity or metabolic disorders.

Fig. 1. The appearance frequency of most mentioned acupoints in the articles of recent five years.


1. Chen C, Liu J, Sun M, Liu W, Han J, Wang H, Acupuncture for type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 ;36:100-112.

2. Tang XM, Guan J. Effect of acupuncture combined with conventional drug on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Renming Junyi (People's Military Surgeon). 2013(09):1039-1040.

3. Yang QY, Liu CH, Wu YQ, Li B. Acupuncture combined with Liuwei Dihuang Pill for the treatment of 80 cases of type 2 diabetes with renal Yin deficiency. Henan Zhongyi (Henan Traditional Chinese Medicine). 2015;35(3):573-575.

4. Chen X, Huang J, Li P, et al. Effects of alcohol alkaloids on hypoglycemic and oxidative stress in diabetic mice. Asia-Pacific Trad Med. 2012; 8:24-25.

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