Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome

Evidence Summaries

Level of Evidence = D
There is insufficient evidence to determine whether acupuncture is an efficacious and safe treatment for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome)

The level of evidence is downgraded by study quality (unclear allocation concealment and blinding) and imprecise results.

A Cochrane review 1 included 2 studies with a total of 170 subjects. No significant difference was detected in remission of overall symptoms between acupuncture and medications in one trial (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.24). Another trial found that dermal needle therapy used in combination with medications and massage was more effective than medications and massage alone, in terms of remission of unpleasant sensations in the legs (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.75; WMD -0.61, 95% CI -0.96 to -0.26) and reduction of RLS frequency (WMD -3.44, 95% CI -5.15 to -1.73). However, there was no significant difference for the reduction in either the longest or the shortest duration of RLS (WMD -2.58, 95% CI -5.92 to 0.76; WMD -0.38, 95% CI -1.08 to 0.32).

Date of latest search: 2008-05-30


1. Cui Y, Wang Y, Liu Z. Acupuncture for restless legs syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;(4):CD006457.  [PMID:18843716]

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