, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 257-260
Date: 21 Apr 2011

Acupuncture for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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To assess the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment option for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


The literatures were searched using 15 databases, including MEDLINE, AMED, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, six Korean medical databases and two Chinese databases without language restritions. Prospective controlled clinical studies of any type of acupuncture therapy for ADHD autistic patients were included. Trials in which acupuncture was part of a complex intervention were also included. All articles were read by two independent reviewers, who extracted data from the articles according to predefined criteria. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.


Of 114 articles, only three randomized clinical trials (RCTs) met our inclusion criteria. One RCT found that electroacupuncture (EA) plus behavioural treatment was superior to sham EA plus behavioural treatment. Two RCTs reported a significant benefit of acupuncture or auricular acupuncture over conventional drug therapies.


Limited evidence exists for the effectiveness of acupuncture as a symptomatic treatment of ADHD. Given that the risk of bias of the included studies was high, firm conclusions cannot be drawn.