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Eur J Health Econ. 2008 Aug;9(3):209-19. Epub 2007 Jul 19.

Quality of life and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with osteoarthritis pain.

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  • 1Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.


To assess quality of life (QoL), costs, and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment plus routine care versus routine care alone in osteoarthritis patients, a randomised, controlled trial was conducted in 255 general practices in Germany. Four hundred and eighty-nine patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee or hip were included to evaluated QoL and costs at baseline and after 3 months using health insurance funds data and standardized questionnaires. Patients receiving acupuncture had an improved QoL associated with significantly higher costs over the 3 months treatment period compared to routine care alone (mean cost-difference: 469.50 euros [95%CI 135.80-803.19 euros]). This increase in costs was primarily due to the costs of acupuncture. The overall ICER was 17,845 euros per QALY gained. The degree of cost-effectiveness was influenced by gender, with female patients achieving a better cost-effectiveness ratio than men. In conclusion, acupuncture was a cost-effective treatment strategy in patients with chronic osteoarthritis pain.

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