Journal Article

Acupuncture in haemodialysis patients at the Quchi (LI11) acupoint for refractory uraemic pruritus

Chou Che-yi, Cheng Yu Wen, Kao Min-Tsung and Huang Chiu-Ching

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 20, issue 9, pages 1912-1915
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfh955
Acupuncture in haemodialysis patients at the Quchi (LI11) acupoint for refractory uraemic pruritus

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Background. Uraemic pruritus is a common problem in end-stage renal failure patients. Traditional therapies produce marginal or no results. Acupuncture has been reported to be effective. The aim of this randomized, controlled study was to validate a single acupoint for relieving uraemic pruritus.

Methods. We randomized 40 patients with refractory uraemic pruritus into two groups. In group 1 (n = 20), acupuncture was applied unilaterally at the Quchi (LI11) acupoint thrice weekly for 1 month. In group 2 (controls, n = 20), acupuncture was applied at a non-acupoint 2 cm lateral to Quchi (LI11) thrice weekly for 1 month. Subjects responded to a pruritus score questionnaire given before and at the end of the 1 month treatment and at a 3 months follow-up. The results of the pruritus scores were analysed with the repeated measures general linear model to examine the effect of acupuncture on pruritus scores.

Results. In group 1, pruritus scores before and after acupuncture and at the 3 month follow-up were 38.3±4.3, 17.3±5.5 and 16.5±4.9, and in group 2 (controls) they were 38.3±4.3, 37.5±3.2 and 37.1±5, respectively. Laboratory tests showed no significant differences between the two groups. Pruritus scores were significantly lower after acupuncture and at the 3 month follow-up, P<0.001.

Conclusions. Acupuncture at the Quchi (LI11) acupoint is an easy, safe and effective means of relieving uraemic pruritus.

Keywords: acupoint; acupuncture; end-stage renal disease; haemodialysis; pruritus score; refractory uraemic pruritus; Quchi (LI11)

Journal Article.  1690 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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