OBJECTIVE: To investigate the risk of epilepsy in stroke patients receiving and not receiving acupuncture treatment.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: This study was based on Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database that included information on stroke patients hospitalised between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2004.
PARTICIPANTS: We identified 42 040 patients hospitalised with newly diagnosed stroke who were aged 20 years and above.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: We compared incident epilepsy during the follow-up period until the end of 2009 in stroke patients who were and were not receiving acupuncture. The adjusted HRs and 95% CIs of epilepsy associated with acupuncture were calculated using multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression.
RESULTS: Stroke patients who received acupuncture treatment (9.8 per 1000 person-years) experienced a reduced incidence of epilepsy compared to those who did not receive acupuncture treatment (11.5 per 1000 person-years), with an HR of 0.74 (95% CI 0.68 to 0.80) after adjustment for sociodemographic factors and coexisting medical conditions. Acupuncture treatment was associated with a decreased risk of epilepsy, particularly among stroke patients aged 20-69 years. The log-rank test probability curve indicated that stroke patients receiving acupuncture treatment had a reduced probability of epilepsy compared with individuals who did not receive acupuncture treatment during the follow-up period (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Stroke patients who received acupuncture treatment had a reduced risk of epilepsy compared with those not receiving acupuncture treatment. However, the protective effects associated with acupuncture treatment require further validation in prospective cohort studies.
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