Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Controlled clinical trials (CCTs) were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of acupuncture were eligible, regardless of the method of stimulation. Studies of treatments that did not use needling were excluded. The included studies compared manual acupuncture with and without electrical stimulation to superficial needling or waiting-list control. The studies used acupuncture according to Chinese medicine or according to a Western diagnosis. Treatments were given for 20 to 30 minutes, twice or thrice weekly, for 6 or 10 weeks.
Participants included in the review
Studies of adults with xerostomia were eligible for inclusion. The participants in the included studies were aged between 33 and 82 years. Their xerostomia had been induced by radiation or was due to primary Sjogrens' syndrome or various unspecified causes.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Inclusion criteria were not specified in terms of the outcomes. In all of the included studies, the primary outcome was resting and stimulated salivary flow rate. One study also assessed subjective symptoms (burning and sensation in the mouth) and mouth and eye dryness. The review also assessed adverse effects.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The studies were screened for inclusion in two phases: first, the abstracts were read to remove clearly irrelevant studies; second, the complete articles were retrieved and screened against the inclusion criteria. The author did not state how many reviewers performed the selection.