Journal of Acupuncture Research (2020-02-01)

Current Research Trends in Randomized Controlled Trials Investigating the Combined Effect of Korean Medicine and Western Medicine Treatment

  • Dohyung Ha,
  • Seoyeon Kim,
  • Yong Hyeon Baek,
  • Jiyoon Won,
  • Seri Nam,
  • Jeeyoung Shin,
  • Oh-Hoon Kwon,
  • Soo-Yeon Kim,
  • Hyangsook Lee

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 37, no. 1
pp. 13 – 18


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This review examined recently published (July 2014 to June 2017), randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which investigated the safety and effectiveness of combined Korean medicine/complementary alternative medicine (CAM) and Western medicine, to indicate the direction for integrative medical practice. The Korean Medicine Convergence Research Information Center evidence-based medicine database (KMCRIC EBM DB) was used to retrieve relevant RCTs indexed in the last 3 years. Study design, country, sample size, disease/condition with the Korean Standard Classification of Diseases code, interventions, direction of outcomes, and adverse events were extracted and summarized. A total of 93 RCTs were included in this review. Acupuncture/moxibustion was the most commonly used intervention (n = 47; 51%), and 19% (n = 18) of the studies treated musculoskeletal disorders, followed by circulatory disorders (n = 16; 17%), and mental and behavioral disorders (n = 9; 10%). Integrative treatment was reported as more effective than monotherapy in approximately 83% of these studies. Adverse events were poorly reported in most studies. This review suggests that integrative treatments are feasible, effective, and safe for various diseases/conditions, based on the evidence from recently published RCTs. Future studies on integrative healthcare are warranted.