Background: This systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of acupoint catgut embedding (ACE), which is widely used in simple obese patients.
Methods: Nine electronic databases and 2 trial registries were searched from inception to September 2021 without language limitations. All randomized controlled trials involving ACE therapies for simple obesity were included. Assessment of Cochrane's risk of bias and meta-analysis, as well as GRADE evaluation, were also performed.
Results: A total of 73 randomized clinical trials involving 5872 participants were included. The overall risk of bias was high or unclear. ACE showed higher efficacy in total effective rate, body mass index, and body weight than manual acupuncture. In addition, ACE is more beneficial in total effective rate than electroacupuncture (EA). Moreover, combination therapy of ACE with EA is more effective in total body mass index and body weight than EA alone.
Conclusions: Despite some potential improvement, the evidence regarding the effectiveness and efficacy of ACE for simple obesity is inconclusive due to the poor quality of evidence. Further well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness of ACE for simple obesity.