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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Apr 2020 - 17 Apr 2020


Human Studies


PLoS One



Use of IMMPACT domains in clinical trials of acupuncture for chronic pain: A methodological survey.


Mazzei L G, de Bergamaschi C C, Silva M T, Barberato Filho S, Fulone I, Del Grossi Moura M, Guimaraes C, Lopes L C
PLoS One. 2020; 15(4):e0231444.
PMID: 32298300.


Acupuncture is one of the therapeutic resources used for the management of chronic pain. Variability in outcome measurements in randomized clinical trials of non-oncologic chronic pain (RCT-NOCP) generates inconsistencies in determining effects of treatments. The objective of this survey was to assess the adherence to the recommendations made by the Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT) in the measurement of RCT-NOCP of acupuncture. This methodological research made a systematic search for eligible studies from different sources of information. Eligible studies included those with number of patients ≥100, who randomized and allocated patients with chronic non-oncologic pain to be treated with acupuncture or with "sham" acupuncture, or non-acupuncture. This research included the recommendations for IMMPACT in the measurement of RCT-NOCP: presence of outcomes pain, physical function, emotional state and improvement perception of patient, the source of the outcome information pain and the tools used to measure such domains. From a total of 1,386 studies, 24 were included in this survey. Eleven studies presented low risk of bias. Pain outcome was measured in 23 studies, physical function in 22 studies, emotional state in 14 studies and improvement perception of patient in one study. As for the pain outcome, the patient was the information source in 50% of the studies. The measurement tools recommended for IMMPACT were included in eight studies (35%) that evaluated pain, one study that evaluated the emotional state (7%), and one study that evaluated the improvement perception and satisfaction of patient. It was observed that studies which did not adhere to the recommendations had more favorable results for acupuncture in the outcome pain. This study concludes that randomized clinical trials that used acupuncture to manage chronic pain failed to adhere to IMMPACT recommendations. Clinical societies and IMMPACT do not share the same recommendations. This fact reflects in the diversity of outcomes and instruments adopted in the studies, making it difficult to compare the results.