Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion in the review.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that compared any type of acupuncture (defined as any method of stimulating acupuncture points) with sham acupuncture, non-acupuncture treatments or no treatment were eligible for inclusion. Studies that compared different types of acupuncture were excluded. The included studies evaluated traditional Chinese acupuncture and electro-acupuncture, either alone or in combination with manual treatment. Treatment sessions were provided regularly at least once a week and involved between 6 and 40 sessions. None of the studies excluded concomitant treatments. The control interventions included sham acupuncture, treatment for unrelated conditions, drug treatment and no treatment.
Participants included in the review
Studies of patients who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia as defined by the American College of Rheumatology were eligible for inclusion.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that reported clinical outcomes were eligible for inclusion. The included studies assessed a variety of outcomes including measures of pain, tender points, sleep, physical and mental functioning, overall well-being and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). Some studies assessed outcomes from 2 months to 2 years post-treatment.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.