TABLE 2

Mild AEs in Studies of Needle Acupuncture

Authors and LocationIndication for TreatmentTreatment and ComparatorAENo. of Events per Group (Treatment or Comparator)Age, Range and/or Mean (SD)GenderTime to EventPractitionerAssociation to Treatment
RCTs
    Shenkman et al45 (1999), United StatesEmesis from general anesthesiaT: needle acupuncture; C: acupuncture at sham pointRedness at site
Irritation at site
9/47 T; 8/53 C
1/47 T; 0/53 C
2–12 y; 6.1 (2.4)50 male, 50 femaleNR
NR
Anesthesiologist trained by licensed acupuncturistCertain
Certain
    Ng et al46 (2004), Hong KongPersistent allergic rhinitisT: needle acupuncture; C: minimal acupuncture at same sitesNumbness
Headache
Light-headedness
3/32 T; 2/31 C
1/32 T; 2/31 C
1/32 T; 0/31 C
Treatment: 11.7 y (3.2); control: 11.0 y (3.8)47 male, 25 femaleNR
NR
NR
AcupuncturistCertain
Possible
Possible
    Sun et al47 (2004), Hong KongCerebral palsyT: needle acupuncture; C: acupressure at same sitesInitial crying with fear and possible minor pain4/22 T; 2/11 CTreatment: 3.52–16.80 y, 8.62 y (3.5); control: 4.47–14.09 y, 10.68 y (3.1)16 male, 17 femaleAt start of treatmentAcupuncturistPossible
    Reindl et al48 (2006), GermanyEmesis from chemotherapyT: needle acupuncture; C: no treatmentNeedle pain1/11 T; 0/11 C10–16 y4 male, 7 femaleDuring treatmentAcupuncturistCertain
    Gottschling et al49 (2008), GermanyEmesis from chemotherapyT: needle acupuncture; C: no treatmentNeedle pain4/23 T; 0/23 C13.6 y (2.9)10 male, 13 femaleDuring treatmentAcupuncturistCertain
    Leung et al50 (2009), Hong KongNocturnal enuresisT: needle acupuncture; C: alarmHemorrhage (local)2/15 T; 0/20 C4–10 y; 9.2 y23 male, 12 femaleDuring treatmentAcupuncturistCertain
    Wong and Sun51 (2010), Hong KongAutism spectrum disorderT: needle acupuncture; C: acupressure at same sitesInitial crying with fear and possible minor pain25/25 T; NR/25 CeTreatment: 6.2 y (1.9); control: 6.0 y (2.0)7.3:1 male/femaleAt start of treatmentAcupuncturistPossible
    Wong et al52 (2010), Hong KongAutism spectrum disorderT: needle acupuncture; C: minimal acupuncture at different sitesHemorrhage (local) or crying or irritability30/30 T; NR/25 CfTreatment: mean 9.2 y (4.1); control: 9.6 y (4.2)47 male, 8 femaleDuring treatmentAcupuncturistPossible
Cohort studies
    Chen et al53 (1990), TaiwanVariousT: needle acupuncture; C: NAFainting2/NRa11–19 yNRDuring treatmentNRProbable
    Yamashita et al54 (2001), JapanVariousT: needle acupuncture; C: NAHemorrhage (local)b≤6/810–19 yNRAfter removalAcupuncturistCertain
Pain on insertionb≤6/8During treatmentCertain
Petechiae or ecchymosisb≤6/8NRProbable
    Wong et al55 (2001), Hong KongPersistent droolingT: needle acupuncture; C: NAInitial crying with fear and possible minor pain3/10 patients7.3 y (4.8)5 male, 5 femaleNRAcupuncturistPossible
    Endres et al56 (2004), GermanyHeadache or chronic lower back pain or arthrosisT: needle acupuncture; C: NAHematoma44/1109 patients2–17 yNRNRMD trained in acupunctureProbable
Vasovagal reactionc13/1109NRPossible
Drowsiness/sleep disturbance1/1109NRPossible
Aggravation of condition5/1109NRPossible
Sensation during treatmentd1/1109During treatmentProbable
    Wong et al57 (2006), Hong KongVisual disorderT: needle acupuncture; C: NAInitial crying with fear and possible minor pain4/12 patients7.9 y5 male, 7 femaleNRAcupuncturistPossible
    Chen et al58 (2008), United KingdomAutism spectrum disorderT: needle acupuncture; C: NAHemorrhage2/2 patients
2/2 patients
11 yFemaleNR
NR
AcupuncturistPossible
Certain
Case reports/series
    Buchta59 (1972), United StatesPneumoniaT: needle acupuncture; C: NAPetechiae, multiple12 yFemaleTreatment occurred 2 d before observation of AEAcupuncturistPossible
    Cheng60 (1988), ChinaHip painT: needle acupuncture; C: NARash111 yFemale27 h after treatmentNRPossible
    Liu and Wang61 (1993), ChinaParalytic strabismusT: needle acupuncture; C: NAHemorrhage (local)∼6/∼20f<18 yNRNRNRCertain
    Campbell62 (1999), United KingdomMigraineT: needle acupuncture; C: NAProlonged migraine116 yMaleNRMD trained in acupuncturePossible
    Rusy et al63 (2002), United StatesFeeding intoleranceT: needle acupuncture; C: NACrying, vomiting114 moMaleDuring treatmentNRPossible
    Wong and Wong64 (2008), Hong KongBell's palsyT: needle acupuncture; C: NAPain at site115 yFemaleDuring treatmentTCM practitionerCertain
    Sidhanee et al65 (2008), United KingdomPain related to spina bifidaT: needle acupuncture; C: NAWorsened symptoms115 yFemaleAfter 3 wk of treatmentNRPossible
    Watson66 (2009), United KingdomCerebral palsyT: needle acupuncture; C: NAHemorrhage (local)110 yMaleDuring treatmentMDCertain
  • T indicates treatment; C, comparator; NR, not reported; NA, not applicable; MD, medical doctor; TCM, traditional Chinese medicine.

  • a This cohort study identified patients who fainted during treatment; of the 52 patients identified, 2 were children. The total number of patients treated was not reported; further information was not available from the authors.

  • b When contacted, the authors stated that there were 8 pediatric patients in this study, up to 6 of whom had ≥1 of these 3 AEs (personal communication).

  • c Including collapse, dizziness, and nausea/vomiting.

  • d Tingling/prickling/burning dysesthesias, paresthesia, and hyperesthesia not related to de qi sensation.

  • e Values were reported as “some” in manuscript. When contacted, the authors stated that all participants in the treatment groups experienced the indicated event at least once; values for control participants were not available.

  • f When contacted, the authors stated that there were ∼20 pediatric patients, of which ∼6 had the AE.