A Guideline for Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture

Haiyong Chen, Mingxiao Yang, Zhipeng Ning, Wing Lok Lam, Ying Ke Zhao, Wing Fai Yeung, Bacon Fung Leung Ng, Eric Tat Chi Ziea, Lixing Lao

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Guidelines for clinical trials of acupuncture are scarce, particularly in their guidance on choosing an adequate control in an acupuncture trial. This guideline was developed to address the research methodology for clinical research in acupuncture which contains the essential elements to be considered in the design, preparation and reporting of an acupuncture RCT. Particularly, investigators focused on the control design because of the unique feature of acupuncture. As one size does not fit all, one single design cannot answer all research questions. Therefore, we recommend that the clinical questions be answered in different stages of trials by choosing the appropriate control or comparator. This concept is adapted from classical drug trials developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of USA in which trials are staged in four phages in order to address different research questions. From the points listed above, this guideline offers the specific recommendations in an acupuncture RCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Acupuncture
  • Control
  • Guideline
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Methodology
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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