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Acupuncture ameliorates symptoms in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome

  • Richard Chen
    Affiliations
    Trillium Medical Center, Acupuncture Foundation of Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
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  • J.Curtis Nickel
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: J. Curtis Nickel, M.D., Department of Urology, Queen’s University, Kingston General Hospital, 76 Stuart Street, Kingston, ON K7L 2V7, Canada
    Affiliations
    Department of Urology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To determine in a pilot study whether acupuncture improved pain, voiding symptoms, and the quality of life of men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

      Methods

      Men diagnosed with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (National Institutes of Health [NIH] criteria) who were refractory to standard therapy (antibiotics, alpha-blockers, anti-inflammatories, phytotherapy) were referred for acupuncture therapy. The treatment protocol involved three sets of acupuncture points totaling 30 points (8 points were electrically stimulated) given alternatively twice weekly for 6 weeks. The patients completed the NIH Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (CPSI) at baseline and the CPSI and subjective global assessment at 6 weeks (end of treatment), 12 weeks, and at least 6 months after the baseline assessment.

      Results

      Twelve men underwent a minimum of 6 weeks of acupuncture treatment. The average follow-up (from baseline) was 33 weeks (range 24 to 52). A significant decrease occurred in total NIH-CPSI (28.2 to 8.5), NIH-CPSI pain (14.1 to 4.8), NIH-CPSI urinary (5.2 to 1.3), and NIH-CPSI quality-of-life (8.8 to 2.3) scores after an average of 33 weeks of follow-up. Ten patients (83%) had a sustained greater than 50% decrease in NIH-CPSI at final visit (average 33 weeks). Ten patients (83%) reported marked improvement on the subjective global assessment at 12 weeks. At an average of 33 weeks, 8 patients (67%) had sustained marked improvement on subjective global assessment evaluation. No adverse events were reported in this pilot study.

      Conclusions

      Acupuncture appears to be a safe, effective, and durable treatment in improving symptoms in, and the quality of life of, men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome refractory to treatment. A larger controlled study is required to confirm these encouraging initial results.
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