Acupunct Med doi:10.1136/aim.2009.001370
  • Education and practice
    • 1506
    • 1507

Revised STandards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA): extending the CONSORT statement

Open AccessEditor's Choice
  1. David Moher6
  2. on behalf of the STRICTA Revision Group
  1. 1Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK
  2. 2Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Department of Research, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Portland, Oregon, USA
  4. 4Chinese Cochrane Centre, Chinese Evidence-Based Medicine Centre, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
  5. 5Primary Care Research, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Ottawa Methods Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hugh MacPherson, Department of Health Sciences, Area 3, Seebohm Rowntree Building, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK; hm18{at}
  • Published Online First 3 June 2010


The STandards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) were published in five journals in 2001 and 2002. These guidelines, in the form of a checklist and explanations for use by authors and journal editors, were designed to improve reporting of acupuncture trials, particularly the interventions, thereby facilitating their interpretation and replication. Subsequent reviews of the application and impact of STRICTA have highlighted the value of STRICTA as well as scope for improvements and revision.

To manage the revision process a collaboration between the STRICTA Group, the CONSORT Group and the Chinese Cochrane Centre was developed in 2008. An expert panel with 47 participants was convened that provided electronic feedback on a revised draft of the checklist. At a subsequent face-to-face meeting in Freiburg, a group of 21 participants further revised the STRICTA checklist and planned dissemination.

The new STRICTA checklist, which is an official extension of CONSORT, includes 6 items and 17 subitems. These set out reporting guidelines for the acupuncture rationale, the details of needling, the treatment regimen, other components of treatment, the practitioner background and the control or comparator interventions. In addition, and as part of this revision process, the explanations for each item have been elaborated, and examples of good reporting for each item are provided. In addition, the word ‘controlled’ in STRICTA is replaced by ‘clinical’, to indicate that STRICTA is applicable to a broad range of clinical evaluation designs, including uncontrolled outcome studies and case reports. It is intended that the revised STRICTA checklist, in conjunction with both the main CONSORT statement and extension for non-pharmacological treatment, will raise the quality of reporting of clinical trials of acupuncture.


  • Members of the STRICTA Revision and Steering Groups The Steering Group comprised DA and DM (CONSORT), HM and RH (STRICTA) and YL and TW (Chinese Cochrane Centre). The STRICTA Revision Group, who participated in the consensus-building workshop in Freiburg, comprised the six members of the Steering Group and Stephen Birch, Isabelle Boutron, Mark Bovey, Yutong Fei, Joel Gagnier, Sally Hopewell, Val Hopwood, Susanne Jena, Klaus Linde, Jianping Liu, Kien Trinh, Emma Veitch, AW and Hitoshi Yamashita.

  • Funding The workshop in Freiburg was supported by the White Rose Health Innovation Partnership, Enterprise and Innovation Office, Charles Thackrah Building, 101 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9LJ, Leeds, UK. HM is supported by a Career Scientist Award from the UK National Institute for Health Research. DGA is supported by Cancer Research UK. DM is supported by a University of Ottawa Research Chair.

  • Competing interests AW is employed by the British Medical Acupuncture Society as Editor of Acupuncture in Medicine.

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

    In order to encourage dissemination of the STRICTA criteria, this article is freely accessible on and will also be published in the Australian Journal of Chinese Medicine, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Journal of Evidence Based Medicine, Medical Acupuncture, and Public Library of Science. The authors jointly hold the copyright of this article. For details on further use, see the CONSORT website (

This paper is freely available online under the BMJ Journals unlocked scheme, see

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