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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Nov 1;2018:1638904. doi: 10.1155/2018/1638904. eCollection 2018.

Efficacy Comparison of Five Different Acupuncture Methods on Pain, Stiffness, and Function in Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Network Meta-Analysis.

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Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510405, Guangdong, China.
Department of Orthopaedics, the Affiliated Orthopaedics and Trauma Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou 510240, Guangdong, China.


The principal objective of this present study was to compare the effects of different acupuncture methods on pain, stiffness, and physical function for osteoarthritis of the knee by the pairwise and network meta-analysis (NMA). A network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was searched from three English databases and one Chinese database until January 2018. A pairwise meta-analysis was performed with a random effects model. Then we carried out the NMA within a Bayesian framework. Mean difference (MD) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated by R 3.4.1, Stata 14.0, and RevMan 5.3 software to assess the relief of pain, the effectiveness for stiffness, and physical function recovery. Node-splitting method was used to calculate the inconsistency. Rank probabilities were assessed and clustered by the surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA). 16 trials mostly researched short-term effectiveness and showed that fire needle and electro-acupuncture were statistically significant to decrease WOMAC pain and physical function scores when compared with other treatments, but there was no significant difference in stiffness calculations. Our NMA demonstrated that acupuncture with heat pain or electrical stimulation might be suggested as the better choices in all acupuncture methods to osteoarthritis of the knee.

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