Symptoms of Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Syndrome Improved With Acupuncture

Acupuncture had a greater durable effect on symptoms of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic syndrome (CP/CPPS) compared with sham treatment. These findings, from a multicenter, randomized, sham-controlled trial, were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Men (N=440) with moderate to severe CP/CPPS were recruited at 10 tertiary hospitals in China between 2017 and 2019. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive acupuncture (n=220) or sham acupuncture (n=220) during 20- 30minute sessions over 8 weeks. Treatment efficacy was assessed by the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) at weeks 1, 8, 20, and 32. Clinical response was defined as >6 point reduction from baseline in NIH-CPSI score.

The intervention and control cohorts were aged mean 35.5 (standard deviation [SD], 8.0) and 36.1 (SD, 7.9) years, BMI was 23.6 (SD, 3.1) and 24.3 (SD, 7.4) kg/m2, and 46.0% and 47.4% had previous treatment for their CP/CPPS.

Participants received an average of 18.9 (SD, 3.9) acupuncture sessions and 19.1 (SD, 35) sham acupuncture sessions.

At week 8, more acupuncture recipients were responders (60.6% vs 36.8%), indicating a significant effect (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.6; 95% CI, 1.8-4.0; P <.001). A similar finding was observed at week 32 (61.5% vs 38.3%; aOR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.7-3.9; P <.001).

Among the acupuncture cohort, the mean decrease in NIH-CPSI from baseline was >6 points at 7 weeks, remaining consistent through week 32. For the sham treatment recipients, NIH-CPSI decreased from baseline by <6 points at week 7, persisting to week 32.

Adverse events were reported by more of the acupuncture recipients (9.1% vs 6.4%). Treatment related events included subcutaneous hematoma (4.1% vs 2.3%), localized infection (0.5% vs 0%), and nausea (0.5% vs 0%) among the acupuncture and sham recipients, respectively.

The limitations of this study included the fact that 13 participants had previous exposure to acupuncture and the possibility that the sham acupuncture had some physiologic effects.

These data indicated that acupuncture may improve symptoms of CP/CPPS.


Sun Y, Liu Y, Liu B, et al. Efficacy of acupuncture for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized trialAnn Intern Med. 2021;174(10):1357-1366.