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Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Sep;38(9):864-9.

The effect of acupuncture on patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over study.

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  • 1Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust, Reading, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Acupuncture is commonly used by patients with chronic painful musculoskeletal disorders. There are, however, few well-designed studies of its efficacy. This paper describes a randomized placebo-controlled cross-over design to evaluate acupuncture as a useful treatment adjunct in the management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS:

Sixty-four patients were centrally randomized from a hospital-based rheumatology out-patient clinic. Fifty-six patients were suitable for study, all were on second-line therapy and aged 18-75 yr. There had been no change in therapy for the preceding 3 months. Patients who had previous acupuncture, anticoagulation, fear of needles or infection were excluded. Single-point (Liver 3) acupuncture or placebo was given with an intervening 6 week wash-out period. The acupuncturist, patient and statistician were blinded as far as possible. The outcome measures included the inflammatory markers (erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein), visual analogue scale of pain, global patient assessment, 28 swollen and tender joint count, and a general health questionnaire.

RESULTS:

The results demonstrated no significant effect of treatment or period and no significant interaction between treatment and period for any outcome variable. No adverse effects were reported.

CONCLUSION:

Acupuncture of this type cannot be considered as a useful adjunct to therapy in patients with RA. Possible reasons why this is the case are discussed.

Comment in

PMID:
10515648
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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