Comparison of 3 assessment modes of acupuncture effect on patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: A study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background:

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is a common disorder. Some studies have indicated that acupuncture may ameliorate the symptoms of CP/CPPS. However, results are varied and range widely, perhaps due to different modes of assessment including timepoints, places of assessment, and especially subjective scales. We propose to determine the efficacy of acupuncture relative to sham acupuncture for patients with CP/CPPS, and compare different modes of assessment regarding the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.

Methods:

Sixty patients with CP/CPPS will be randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture or sham-acupuncture (30 patients, each). Treatment will be conducted 3 times/week, for 4 weeks. The coprimary outcomes will each be the change from baseline of the total NIH (National Institutes of Health) CPSI (Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index) score associated with 3 modes of assessment: Mode 1, the scale recorded at the hospital within 10 minutes after the last session of 4 weeks of acupuncture treatment, in the company of the outcome assessors; Mode 2, the scale recorded the same day, but not at the hospital; and Mode 3, the scale recorded at the hospital 1 to 3 days after the last acupuncture session. The 3 key secondary outcomes include will be the 3 modes assessment of the changes from baseline of the NIH-CPSI total scores in the acupuncture group at week 4 after treatment. Analysis was by intention-to-treat, and multiplicity was controlled for with a step-down closed-testing procedure.

Discussion:

To our knowledge, previous studies did not include the details of assessment scales when determining the efficacy of acupuncture in CP/CPPS. Furthermore, it is not clear which mode was used to assess the effect. The answers provided by the proposed study may improve the reproducibility of acupuncture research and the reliability of results.

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