In this study, researchers from Italy assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing patient discomfort and anxiety during colonoscopy. They compared acupuncture treatment with a standard sedation protocol.
The team reviewed 30 patients scheduled to undergo colonoscopy. Patients were randomized to receive 1 of 3 treatments: acupuncture, sham, or no acupuncture.
They used a verbal rating scale measure patient's pain when the endoscope reached 4 scheduled positions.
Midazolam was administered at baseline, and again at any time patients complained of "severe" pain. The team recorded the amount of midazolam administered.
|Pain levels were lower, although not significantly, in the acupuncture group.|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
In addition, a verbal rating scale was used to assess patient's satisfaction with the level of sedation achieved.
The research team found that pain levels were lower, although not significantly, in the acupuncture group.
However, midazolam boluses were required in 3 patients with acupuncture, 8 in the sham group, and 9 in the control group.
In addition, 6 patients in the acupuncture group reported optimum acceptance of colonoscopy, compared with 1 in the sham group, and 0 in the control group.
Satisfaction scores, assessed 24 to 72 hours after colonoscopy, were extremely high in all 3 groups.
Dr Lorella Fanti's team concluded, "Acupuncture may decrease the demand for sedative drugs during colonoscopy by reducing discomfort and anxiety of the patient and the well-known adverse effects of pharmacologic sedation".