The evidence is not convincing according to Prof. Ernst and colleagues from the Peninsula Medical School in the UK.

But that’s not to say that the lack of evidence is decisive.

First, the details.

  • They searched the medical literature using the Jadad score to assess the methodological quality of studies.
  • Using the Jadad score, studies are scored according to the presence of 3 key methodological features: random assignment of treatment, blinding of patients and researchers to the treatment given, and accountability of all patients including withdrawals in the final analysis.

And, the results.

  • 3 studies assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture vs placebo acupuncture.
    • A meta-analysis showed no significant effect.
  • Another 6 studies compared acupuncture plus conventional drugs on improvement of symptoms with drugs only.
    • Meta-analysis of 2 of these studies suggested a positive effect of scalp acupuncture.
  • 2 studies tested acupuncture vs no treatment.
    • The meta-analysis of these studies also suggested beneficial effects of acupuncture but failed to adequately control for nonspecific effects.

The bottom line?
Prof. Ernst concluded that the evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating Parkinson’s disease is not convincing. The number and quality of trials as well as their total sample size were too low to draw firm conclusion. However, based on what we do know, further rigorous studies are warranted.

7/12/08 23:09 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.