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Acupuncture Relieves Pain and Improves Function in Knee Osteoarthritis

A landmark study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) of the National Institutes of Health was the longest and largest randomized, controlled phase III clinical trial of acupuncture ever conducted. The multi-site study team, including rheumatologists and licensed acupuncturists, enrolled 570 patients, aged 50 or older with osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or an education control group. Patients continued to receive standard medical care from their primary physicians, including anti-inflammatory medications, such as COX-2 selective inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opioid pain relievers. Patients' progress was assessed at 4, 8, 14, and 26 weeks. By week 8, participants receiving acupuncture were showing a significant increase in function and by week 14 a significant decrease in pain, compared with the sham and control groups. These results held through the entire 26 week study period. Overall, those who received acupuncture had a 40 percent decrease in pain and a nearly 40 percent improvement in function compared to baseline assessments. Berman BM, Lao L, Langenberg P, et al. “Effectiveness of Acupuncture as Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 141(12): 901-910, Dec. 2004.

http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/abstract/141/12/901




   

 

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