For a study published in Diabetes Care, Kyung-Min Shin, DKM, PhD, Sun-Mi Choi, DKM, PhD, and colleagues sought to determine the effectiveness and safety of electroacupuncture (EA) for the management of DPN in patients with type 2 diabetes. “Study results suggest that acupuncture is effective for painful DPN, and it has been reported through several studies conducted using animal models of diabetic neuropathy that electroacupuncture is effective in treating painful DPN,” says Dr. Shin
The researchers conducted a controlled trial between June 2014 and March 2016 at four centers in South Korea. Participants with diabetes for 10 years or longer and at least a 3-year history of DPN were randomly assigned to twice-weekly administration of 30 minutes of EA for 8 weeks or a control group.
Patients in the EA group experienced a 20.56% decrease in pain at week 9 when compared with baseline levels, whereas pain only decreased by 8.73% in the control group. A pain reduction of more than 50% when compared with baseline levels was experienced by 15.52% of the EA group, compared with just 6.25% of the control group. Pain reduction was maintained at weeks 4 and 8 after treatment in the EA group, who also showed a decrease in sleep interference scores and an increase in quality of life scores when compared with the control group. Improvements in the Patient Global Impression of Change were reported by 82.50% of the EA group, compared with 34.10% of the control group.
“Electroacupuncture alleviates the symptoms of patients with painful DPN and induces improvement in sleep and quality of life in general,” says Dr. Choi. “During the study period, no participant showed any adverse events related to electroacupuncture.”
Kyung-Min Shin, Seunghoon Lee, Eun Yong Lee, et al. Electroacupuncture for Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: A Multicenter, Randomized, Assessor-Blinded, Controlled Trial. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(10):e141-e142. Available at