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Effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for postherpetic neuralgia: an umbrella review protocol
  1. Yan Zhao,
  2. Di-Yang Ling,
  3. Juan Zhang,
  4. Qiong Wu,
  5. Zhen-Wu Zhang,
  6. Zhe-Yin Wang
  1. Department of Pain, Shenzhen People’s Hospital (The Second Clinical Medical College, Jinan University; The First Affiliated Hospital, Southern University of Science and Technology), Shenzhen, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Yan Zhao; zhao.yan{at}


Introduction Several systematic reviews and meta-analysis indicate that acupuncture and related therapies may be a valuable adjunctive technique to pharmacological interventions for pain management of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). However, the robustness of the results of these studies has not been evaluated. The aim of this proposed umbrella review is to provide more reliable evidence of the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for PHN based on medical references for healthcare decision makers.

Methods and analysis PubMed, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Chinese BioMedical Literature Database, VIP Database for Chinese Technical Periodicals, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Wan fang Database will be used to retrieve reviews. The time of publication will be limited from inception to March 2021. Two reviewers will screen all retrieved articles independently to identify their eligibility and extract the data. The quality will be assessed independently by two trained reviewers using Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews-2 for methodological quality, Risk of Bias in Systematic Review for level of bias, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis for reporting quality and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation for the quality of evidence. Any disagreements will be settled by discussion or the involvement of a third reviewer.

Ethics and dissemination The protocol of this review does not require ethical approval because the research will be based on publicly available data. The findings will be disseminated through publication in peer-reviewed international journals or presentation in academic conference.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020173341.

Reporting checklist PRISMA-P, 2015.

  • complementary medicine
  • neurological pain
  • qualitative research

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  • Contributors YZ and D-YL are joint first authors. YZ and D-YL designed the study and YZ submitted the registration on PROSPERO. QW and Z-WZ developed the draft search strategy according to the registration. YZ drafted the manuscript, and JZ revised the language. Z-YW approved the final version of the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript. YZ and Z-YW are the study guarantors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.