Acupuncture treatment for infantile colic

Needle acupuncture, originating from China, is used in Scandinavia and in other Western countries as a treatment for infantile colic. The treatment is controversial, as infants and toddlers are unable to consent to treatment. We aimed to evaluate the method and the efficacy of acupuncture treatments for infantile colic.

Methods. We did a pilot study to assess the feasibility of our proposed design of a trial to assess the efficacy of percutaneous needle acupuncture. We carried out a prospective, blinding-validated, randomised controlled multi-centre trial in general practice. We did a systematic review and a blinding test validation based on individual patient data from all randomised controlled trials. We did a qualitative study in Shanghai to explore contemporary practices and clinical recommendations regarding the use of acupuncture for infants.

Results. We improved the standardisation of the intervention procedure and changed the blinding procedure as a result of the pilot study.

We found no statistically significant difference in crying time reduction between acupuncture and control group at any of the measured intervals, 

In the systematic review and IPD meta-analysis we conducted both an English-language and a Chinese-language literature search up to February 2017. There were no Chinese trials. We included three randomised controlled trials with data from 307 participants, all Scandinavian. The mean difference in crying time between acupuncture intervention and no acupuncture control was –24.9 minutes at mid treatment, –11.4 minutes at the end of treatment, and –11.8 minutes ( one trial) after four weeks. None of the results were clinically relevantl. 

The qualitative study carried out in Shanghai, revealed that acupuncture was neither routinely practiced nor recommended for infants and small children. Percutaneous needle acupuncture was considered potentially painful for this young patient population.

Prosjektbeskrivelse med vedlegg


  • Ja


  • Nei


NSD - Ja 1 fil

Tidspunkt for anonymisering og sletting av dataene

  • Anonymisering: desember 2013

REK - Ja 3 filer

Tidspunkt for anonymisering og sletting av dataene

  • Anonymisering: desember 2013

Andre godkjenninger1 fil


Mette Brekke

Ansvarlig enhet

Avdeling for allmennmedisin


  • Holgeir Skjeie
  • Arne Fetveit
  • Trygve Skonnord
  • Atle Klovning
  • Kjetil Gundro Brurberg (Norwegian Institute of Public Health Division for Health Services, Oslo, Norway;)
  • Kajsa Landgren (Faculty of Medicine Department of)
  • Inger Kristensson Hallstrom (Faculty of Medicine Department of)


  • Ph.d.-prosjekt

Helsefaglig forskning

  • Ja


  • Ja


  • Start: september 2009
  • Slutt: desember 2017
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