To assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for erectile dysfunction (ED).
We searched six major English and Chinese databases included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) testing acupuncture alone or in combination for ED. Dichotomous data were presented as risk ratio (RR) and continuous data were presented as mean difference (MD) both with 95% confidence interval (CI). The Revman (v.5.3) was used for data analyses. Quality of evidence across studies was assessed by the online GRADEpro tool.
We identified 22 RCTs, fourteen of them involving psychogenic ED. Most of the included RCTs had high or unclear risk of bias. There was no difference between electro-acupuncture and sham acupuncture with electrical stimulation on the rate of satisfaction and self-assessment (RR, 1.50; 95% CI, 0.71-3.16; 1 trial). Acupuncture combined with tadalafil appeared to have better effect on increasing cure rate (RR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.00-1.71; 2 trials), and International Index of Erectile Function-5 scores (MD, 5.38; 95% CI, 4.46-6.29; 2 trials). When acupuncture plus herbal medicine compared with herbal medicine alone, the combination therapy showed significant better improvement in erectile function (RR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.31-2.15; 7 trials). Only two trials reported facial red and dizziness cases, and needle sticking and pruritus cases in acupuncture group.
Low quality evidence shows beneficial effect of acupuncture as adjunctive treatment for people mainly with psychogenic ED. Safety of acupuncture was insufficiently reported. The findings should be confirmed in large, rigorously designed and well-reported trials.
The world journal of men's health. 2019 Mar 15 [Epub ahead of print]
Bao Yong Lai, Hui Juan Cao, Guo Yan Yang, Li Yan Jia, Suzanne Grant, Yu Tong Fei, Emma Wong, Xin Lin Li, Xiao Ying Yang, Jian Ping Liu
Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China., NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia., School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China.