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Acupuncture for migraine: a protocol for a meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomised controlled trials
  1. Zishan Gao1,
  2. Carlo Maria Giovanardi2,
  3. Hongxiao Li3,
  4. Chen Hao1,
  5. Qian Li3,
  6. Xu Zhang3,
  7. Ulrich Mansmann4
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, China
  2. 2 Italian Federation of Acupuncture Societies (FISA), Association of Medical Acupuncturists of Bologna (A.M.A.B.), Bologna, Italy
  3. 3 School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, China
  4. 4 Department of Medical Data Processing, Biometrics, and Epidemiology (IBE), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ulrich Mansmann; mansmann{at}


Introduction Although the effectiveness of acupuncture for episodic migraine has been confirmed by multiple clinical trials and Cochrane systematic reviews, the mechanisms underlying the specific effect of acupuncture for migraine remain controversial. We aim to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for both episodic migraine and chronic migraine by meta-analysis and explore the possible factors influencing the specific effect of acupuncture for migraine by meta-regression.

Methods and analysis We will search for randomised control trials of acupuncture for migraine in the following eight databases: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED (via OVID) and four Chinese databases (Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database and Wanfang Database) from inception to 31 December 2017. We will also search OpenSIGLE ( for conference abstracts. No language restriction will be applied. The selection of studies, data extraction and coding and assessment of risk of bias of the included studies will be conducted independently by two reviewers. Standard meta-analysis and, if appropriate, meta-regression will be performed using the R packages Meta and Metafor.

Ethics and dissemination The results of this meta-analysis and meta-regression will be disseminated through publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at a relevant conference. The data used in this meta-analysis will not contain individual patient data; therefore, ethical approval is not required.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42018087270.

  • acupuncture
  • meta analysis protocol
  • meta regression
  • migraine

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  • Contributors UM is the guarantor. ZG, UM, CMG and XZ contributed to the conception of the study. The manuscript presenting the protocol was drafted by ZG and revised by UM. The search strategy was developed by all authors and will be run by ZG and HL, who will also independently screen the potential studies, extract data from included studies and assess the risk of bias. ZG and UM will conduct and finish the data synthesis. QL and CH will arbitrate in cases of disagreement and ensure no errors occur during the study. All authors have approved the publication of the protocol.

  • Funding This meta-analysis will be supported by funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (number 81202741), the Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (number 20123237120009), the State Scholarship Fund (number 201608320044) and the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013/ under REA grant agreement number PIRSES-GA-2013-612 589: CHETCH (China and Europe Taking Care of Healthcare solutions).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval is not required.

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

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