Persistent coughs caused by mild chest infections were not benefit from antibiotic treatment. There was a study led by Prof Paul Little from the University of Southampton about antibiotic treatment for patients with persistent cough lasting more than 28 days. This study including about 2000 patients across European countries showed that the severity and duration of symptoms in these patients treated with antibiotics were no different to those given a sugar placebo. Unless pneumonia is suspected, using antibiotic to treat some respiratory infections is not helpful and could cause harm such as developing resistance and other side effects including diarrhoea, rash and vomiting. Most of mild chest infections are mainly caused by viruses which are not responding to antibiotic treatment. These infections will settle by themselves. This is because body defence system will fight against virus infection and eventually get rid of those viruses.
Do you know acupuncture can help chronic cough condition? Patients with such condition have difficulty to fight off virus infections, because their body defence system is relatively weaker. Acupuncture can strength body defence system by stimulating particular acupuncture points. As a result, this will reduce the severity of the symptoms, shorten the duration of the illness and help recovery from the chronic infection condition.
Acupuncture is effective for COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common disorders and one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a general term of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways. Irreversible airflow limitation in COPD is caused by damage to the airways and lung tissue. COPD is usually caused by smoking. Symptoms include cough with phlegm and breathlessness which is increasing when active. There are also frequent chest infections. These symptoms are progressing over time. Respiratory failure or right heart failure may occur in the end. The main aims of the treatments are to reduce symptoms, to prevent symptoms worsening, preserve lung function and improve daily quality life. The most important treatment is to stop smoking. Inhalers are commonly used to ease symptoms. Other treatments such as steroids, antibiotics, oxygen, and mucus-thinning (mucolytic) medicines are sometimes prescribed in more severe cases, or during a flare-up (exacerbation) of symptoms. Acupuncture is used in treating COPD in China. Clinical data to date suggest that acupuncture may be an effective treatment which contributes to medical care for COPD. Acupuncture reduces inflammation in respiratory system and improves mucus clearance.
For example, there was a case series study from Japan for COPD. There were 26 patients with COPD presenting with breathlessness on exertion due to COPD. All of these patients received acupuncture treatments once a week for 10 weeks plus standard medication treatments. At the end of 10 week acupuncture treatments all 26 patients showed significant improvement with reduced breathlessness on exertion. They suggested that acupuncture treatment is a useful treatment for patients with COPD.
A recent study is investigated the regulatory effects of acupuncture on exercise tolerance in patients with COPD at stable phase. Based on specified aerobic exercise, acupuncture was applied in the treatment group and placebo acupuncture was used in the placebo group. The acupoints used were Danzhong (CV 17), Rugen (ST 18), Guanyuan (CV 4), Zhongwan (CV 12), Tianshu (ST 25) and so on. The total treatment period is 5 weeks. The exercise tolerance is measured by various methods including 6-min walking distance (6-MWD), exercise time, maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)/forced vital capacity (FVC), maximum ventilatory volume (MVV), St. George respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ). The results have shown that (1) exercise tolerance: the differences of 6-MWD and exercise time were statistically significant between groups, which were more superior in the treatment group; the VO2max was significantly increased after treatment in the treatment group. (2) Pulmonary ventilation function: the differences of FEV1%, FEV1/FVC and MVV% were statistically significant between groups, which were more superior in the treatment group. (3) SGRQ: the SGRQ was significantly improved after treatment in the treatment group (P<0.05), but there was no difference between two groups. This study suggested that the acupuncture could improve the exercise tolerance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at stable phase, and shorten the onset time of aerobic exercise. Besides, acupuncture combined with aerobic exercise could effectively improve the pulmonary function.
Coyle ME et al analysed the effectiveness of acupuncture on COPD using existing studies. By analysing 16 clinical trials they found that the acupuncture therapies used in these studies improved health-related QoL. The team's conclusions, comparing results from the interventions with placebo, were based on data from 3 questionnaires that the studies used: (1) the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), with a mean difference (MD) of -8.33 units (95% CI, -13.13 to -3.53); (2) dyspnea on the Medical Research Council's (MRC's) dyspnea scale, with an MD of -0.34 units (95% CI, -0.38 to -0.30); and (3) the Dyspnea Visual Analogue Scale (DVAS), with an MD of -8.85 mm (95% CI, -11.81 to -5.89). Compared with placebo, acupuncture therapies also increased the distance walked in 6 min (6MWT), with an MD of -28.14 (95% CI, 23.92 to 32.36) compared with placebo. No benefit was seen on measures of lung function when acupuncture therapies were compared with either placebo or drug therapy. They concluded that acupuncture therapies may result in clinically important improvements in QoL and dyspnea.
Suzuki M Acupunct Med (2012) 30:96-102
Acupuncture improves exercises tolerance in patients with COPD
Tong J et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2014) 34:846-50
Coyle ME et al (2014) Altern Ther Health Med 20:10-23