Treatment of moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome with acupuncture: a randomised, placebo-controlled pilot trial.
Sleep Med. 2007 Jan;8(1):43-50. Epub 2006 Oct 4. PMID: 17023212
Sleep Division, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To investigate the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), assessed by polysomnography (PSG) and questionnaires of functional quality of life (SF-36) and excessive daytime sleepiness (Epworth). PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed a randomised, placebo-controlled, single-blinded study, with blinded evaluation on 36 patients presenting an apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) of 15-30/h, assessed by PSG. The study took place at the Public Hospital of the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil, in the Division of Sleep Disorders of the Department of Psychobiology, between January, 2002 and August, 2004. Patients were randomly assigned to three groups: the acupuncture group (n=12); the sham group, submitted to needle insertion in non-acupoints (n=12); and the control group, receiving no treatment (n=12). Patients received acupuncture or sham acupuncture once a week for 10 weeks. RESULTS: Twenty-six patients completed the study. The AHI (P=0.005), the apnea index (AI) (P=0.008) and the number of respiratory events (P=0.005) decreased significantly in the acupuncturegroup but not in the sham group. On the other hand, the control group displayed significant deterioration in some of the polysomnographic parameters, with a significant increase in the number of respiratory events (P=0.025). Acupuncture treatment significantly improved (before vs. after treatment) several dimensions of the SF-36 and Epworth questionnaires. There was no significant association between changes in the body mass index (BMI) and AHI. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture is more effective than sham acupuncture in ameliorating the respiratory events of patients presenting with moderate OSAS.