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Article
Acupuncture and the relaxation response for treating gastrointestinal symptoms in HIV patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy
Acupuncture in Medicine (2011)
  • Bei-Hung Chang, Boston University
  • Elizabeth Sommers, Pathways to Wellness/AIDS Care Project
Abstract
Objectives To examine the effect of acupuncture and the relaxation response (RR) for treating gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in HIV patients who are using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Methods The authors conducted a 4-arm 2×2 double-blind randomised controlled trial in an acupuncture clinic in the USA. Sham acupuncture and health education were used as the control conditions of real acupuncture and RR elicitation, respectively. Enrolled patients were randomised to real acupuncture+RR (AR), sham acupuncture+RR (SR), real acupuncture+health education (AE) or sham acupuncture+health education (SE) study arm. Participants listened to CDs with RR-eliciting instructions or health education while receiving acupuncture intervention. Interventions were provided twice weekly for 4 weeks and once weekly for another 4 weeks. Participants used daily diaries to record GI symptom severity ratings (0–10). The authors estimated the intervention effect as the changes in symptom rating per intervention session increase using a mixed-effects regression model.

Results A total of 130 people with HIV/AIDS who were on HAART and had persistent GI symptoms were enrolled and 115 started the study intervention. The AR group had greater intervention effects for loose stools symptoms than the other three groups (β=−0.149, −0.151 and −0.144, p value=0.013, 0.013 and 0.018 comparing AR to AE, SR and SE, respectively). The AR group also had significant intervention effects on reducing nausea symptoms when the intervention was given twice per week (β=−0.218, p=0.001).

Conclusions Our trial provided preliminary data demonstrating the potential synergistic effects of acupuncture and RR for treating GI symptoms in HIV patients on HAART.
Publication Date
September, 2011
DOI
10.1136/acupmed-2011-010026
Citation Information
Chang BH, Sommers E. Acupuncture and the relaxation response for treating gastrointestinal symptoms in HIV patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy. Acupunct Med. 2011 Sep;29(3):180-7. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2011-010026. PubMed PMID: 21705396; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3232178.