1. A systematic review of 434 studies on acupuncture for adult health conditions found that only a minority of conclusions were rated as high- or moderate-certainty evidence.
2. Most reviews concluded that the certainty of evidence was low or very low, despite acupuncture having been the subject of hundreds of randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews.
3. Conclusions with moderate or high-certainty evidence that acupuncture is superior to other active therapies were rare.
The article "Use of Acupuncture for Adult Health Conditions, 2013 to 2021: A Systematic Review" published in JAMA Network Open aims to map the systematic reviews, conclusions, and certainty or quality of evidence for outcomes of acupuncture as a treatment for adult health conditions. The study identified 434 systematic reviews published since 2013, of which only 127 assessed the certainty or quality of evidence of their conclusions. Overall, most reviews concluded that the certainty of evidence was low or very low.
The article provides valuable insights into the current state of evidence on acupuncture's efficacy for adult health conditions. However, it is important to note that the study has some potential biases and limitations. For instance, the search was limited to five databases and excluded studies on acupressure, fire acupuncture, laser acupuncture, or traditional Chinese medicine without mention of acupuncture. This exclusion may have led to an incomplete picture of the available evidence.
Moreover, while the article notes that there were few conclusions with high or moderate-certainty evidence that acupuncture is superior to other active therapies, it does not explore why this might be the case. It is possible that factors such as study design and sample size may have contributed to this lack of strong evidence.
Additionally, while the article notes that approximately 10% of conclusions rated as high or moderate-certainty were that acupuncture was no better than the comparator treatment, it does not explore what these comparator treatments were. Without this information, it is difficult to assess whether these findings are significant.
Overall, while the article provides valuable insights into the current state of evidence on acupuncture's efficacy for adult health conditions, it is important to consider its potential biases and limitations when interpreting its findings. Further research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture as a treatment option for various health conditions.