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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2018, Article ID 7526234, 11 pages
Review Article

Acupuncture for Infantile Colic: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials

1College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
2Department of Clinical Korean Medicine, Graduate School, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
3Korean Medicine Clinical Trial Center, Kyung Hee University Korean Medicine Hospital, 23 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
4Chung-Yeon Medical Institute, 64, Sangmujungang-ro, Seo-gu, Gwangju 61949, Republic of Korea
5Dongshin Korean Medicine Hospital, 351, Omok-ro, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul 07999, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Tae-Hun Kim; moc.liamg@larenimdnakcor

Received 4 June 2018; Accepted 1 October 2018; Published 24 October 2018

Academic Editor: Gioacchino Calapai

Copyright © 2018 Dabin Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Infantile colic is a common condition causing considerable deterioration in the quality of life of both infants and their parents. Minimal acupuncture, a gentle needling technique without strong muscle stimulation, has primarily been used to treat this condition, but the clinical evidence of its efficacy and safety is yet to be established. The objective of this review was to assess clinical evidence of the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for infantile colic. Methods. To identify studies for inclusion, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database, Wanfang, and Oriental Medicine Advanced Searching Integrated System were searched until January 2017. Only randomised controlled trials of infantile colic in patients aged 0 to 25 weeks, who were treated with acupuncture, were included. To assess the quality, the risk of bias was determined for each study by two authors. The intention was to perform a meta-analysis, but this was not possible in this study due to considerable clinical heterogeneity among the included studies. Results. Of the 601 studies identified, only four randomized controlled trials were included in this review. All included studies were conducted in northern European countries. Most studies showed a low risk of bias in most domains. Minimal acupuncture on LI4 or ST36 without strong stimulation was used in all studies. From the narrative analysis, acupuncture appears to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of colic, including crying and feeding and stooling problems, and may have only minor adverse effects. However, clinical evidence could not be confirmed owing to considerable clinical heterogeneity and the small sample sizes of the included studies. Conclusion. There is currently no conclusive evidence on the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for infantile colic. Rigorous full-scale randomized controlled trials will be necessary in future.