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Assessing the reporting quality in randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for postherpetic neuralgia using the CONSORT statement and STRICTA guidelines

Authors Liu K, Zeng J, Pei W, Chen S, Luo Z, Lu L, Lin G

Received 29 March 2019

Accepted for publication 9 July 2019

Published 29 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 2359—2370

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S210471

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon


Kun Liu,1 Jingchun Zeng,2 Wenya Pei,3 Siyu Chen,1 Zhenke Luo,1 Liming Lu,4 Guohua Lin2

1The First Clinical Medical College, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Acupuncture, The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Acupuncture, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510405, People’s Republic of China; 4Clinical Research and Data Center, Medical College of Acu-Moxi and Rehabilitation, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, People’s Republic of China

Background: This study evaluates the reporting quality of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on acupuncture use for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia and explores related factors.
Methods: The following six databases PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, VIP, CNKI, and SinoMed, were systematically searched from their inception to December 2018. RCTs using acupuncture as an intervention for postherpetic neuralgia were selected and incorporated in this study. The reporting quality was assessed based on the CONSORT statement and the STRICTA guidelines. Regression analyses were also conducted on pre-specified study characteristics searching for factors associated with reporting quality.
Results: A total of 137 RCTs were included in this study. The CONSORT based median OQS was 12 (minimum 3, maximum 29). Of the items comprised in the statement, ten were sufficiently reported (reported in over 70% of trials). The remaining fifty-five items were poorly reported (reported by fewer than 5% of trials). The STRICTA based median OQS was 9 (minimum 2, maximum 15). The results showed that eight of the comprised items were well reported (reported in over 70% of trials), and only three were incompletely reported (reported in fewer than 20% of trials). Based on the CONSORT statement related analysis, a post-2010 publication (β coefficient 2.394, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.168–3.620) and funding (β coefficient 4.456, 95% CI: 3.009–5.903) represented independent and significant predictors of a high overall reporting quality. However, only a funding source (β coefficient 1.305, 95% CI 0.219–2.391) was associated with an increased OQS based on STRICTA analysis.
Conclusion: The findings indicated that RCTs on acupuncture for PHN generally had a sub-optimal reporting quality, a situation that improved for those published after 2010 or with funding sources. Therefore, rigorous adherence to the CONSORT statement and the STRICTA guidelines should be emphasized in future studies.

Keywords: randomized controlled trials, acupuncture, postherpetic neuralgia, CONSORT, STRICTA

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