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Acupuncture versus titrated morphine in acute renal colic: a randomized controlled trial

Authors Beltaief K, Grissa MH, Msolli MA, Bzeouich N, Fredj N, Sakma A, Boubaker H, Bouida W, Boukef R, Nouira S

Received 7 March 2017

Accepted for publication 21 July 2017

Published 13 February 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 335—341


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Kaouthar Beltaief,1,2 Mohamed Habib Grissa,1,2 Mohamed Amine Msolli,1,2 Nasri Bzeouich,1,2 Nizar Fredj,1,2 Adel Sakma,1,2 Hamdi Boubaker,1,2 Wahid Bouida,1,2 Riadh Boukef,1,3 Semir Nouira1,2

1Emergency Department, Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital, 2Research Laboratory LR12SP18, University of Monastir, Monastir, 3Emergency Department, Sahloul University Hospital, Sousse, Tunisia

Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the analgesic effect and tolerance profile of acupuncture versus intravenous (IV) titrated morphine in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with renal colic.
Materials and methods: A total of 115 patients were randomized into two groups. Patients in the IV titrated-morphine group (n=61) received 0.1 mg/kg morphine every 5 minutes until pain score dropped by at least 50% of its baseline value. Patients in the acupuncture group (n=54) received an acupuncture session of 30 minutes following a prespecified protocol. The visual analog scale (VAS) was used to assess pain intensity at baseline and at 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60 minutes following the start of the treatment protocol. Possible treatment side effects were also recorded.
Results: No significant differences were found between the two groups concerning age, sex, or baseline VAS score. From the 10th minute until the end of the intervention, acupuncture was associated with a deeper analgesic effect than titrated morphine (P<0.05 from the 10th minute and over). Analgesia was also faster in the acupuncture group, with time to obtain 50% reduction of baseline VAS of 14 minutes in the acupuncture group versus 28 minutes in the IV titrated-morphine group (P<0.001). Only three patients in the acupuncture group experienced minor side effects versus 42 in the morphine group (P<0.001). No major side effects were observed in this study.
Conclusion: In ED patients with renal colic, acupuncture was associated with a much faster and deeper analgesic effect and a better tolerance profile in comparison with titrated IV morphine.

Keywords: acupuncture, morphine, renal colic

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