Current Medical Science

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1109–1116 | Cite as

Is Acupuncture Effective for Improving Insulin Resistance? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Ai-qun Song
  • Yang-pu Zhang
  • Rui Chen
  • Feng-xia LiangEmail author


This study aimed to evaluate the clinical efficacy of acupuncture for intervening insulin resistance (IR) by meta-analysis of related randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Studies published prior to 31 January 2018 were searched on Pubmed, Medline, Cochrane Library, Embase databases and Chinese databases. Only RCTs, which examined acupuncture as the sole or adjunctive treatment for IR-related diseases, were included. The primary outcome was homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). The secondary outcomes consisted of fasting blood glucose (FBG), fasting insulin (FINS) and 2-h postprandial blood glucose (2h-PBG). The differences between groups were reported as mean differences (MD). All statistical analyses were performed using RevMan software 5.3. After carefully screening relevant studies, 9 RCTs involving 562 patients (279 in experimental group and 283 in control group) were enrolled in this study. The pooled results showed that acupuncture had significant effects on HOMA-IR (MD 0.70, 95% CI 0.04 to 1.35, P=0.04<0.05), FINS (MD 3.35 mU/L, 95% CI 1.99 to 4.7, P<0.001) and 2h-PBG (MD 1.03 mmol/L, 95% CI 0.25 to 1.82, P=0.01). However, the differences in FBG were not significant (MD 0.28 mmol/L, 95% CI–0.28 to 0.84, P=0.32>0.05). The present meta-analysis indicated that acupuncture can help to improve IR to a certain extent, which remains to be confirmed by further high-quality RCTs.

Key words

acupuncture insulin resistance randomized controlled trials meta-analysis 


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Copyright information

© Huazhong University of Science and Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ai-qun Song
    • 1
  • Yang-pu Zhang
    • 2
  • Rui Chen
    • 3
  • Feng-xia Liang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Acupuncture and MoxibustionHubei University of Chinese MedicineWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationHubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western MedicineWuhanChina
  3. 3.Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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