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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 792975, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nen080
Original Article

Delayed Effect of Acupuncture Treatment in OA of the Knee: A Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Trial

1Unit of Complementary Medicine, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery “B”, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
3Unit of Quality Control, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Received 10 October 2007; Accepted 14 November 2008

Copyright © 2011 Ehud Miller et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

To assess the efficacy in providing improved function and pain relief by administering 8 weeks of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy to standard care in elderly patients with OA of the knee. This randomized, controlled, blinded trial was conducted on 55 patients with OA of the knee. Forty-one patients completed the study (26 females, 15 males, mean age ± SD 71.7 ± 8.6 years). Patients were randomly divided into an intervention group that received biweekly acupuncture treatment (n = 28) and a control group that received sham acupuncture (n = 27), both in addition to standard therapy, for example, NSAIDS, cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, acetaminophen, intra-articular hyaluronic acid and steroid injections. Primary outcomes measures were changes in the Knee Society Score (KSS) knee score and in KSS function and pain ratings at therapy onset, at 8 weeks (closure of study) and at 12 weeks (1 month after last treatment). Secondary outcomes were patient satisfaction and validity of sham acupuncture. There was significant improvement in all three scores in both groups after 8 and 12 weeks compared with baseline (P < .05). Significant differences between the intervention and control groups in the KSS knee score (P = .036) was apparent only after 12 weeks. Patient satisfaction was higher in the intervention group. Adjunctive acupuncture treatment seems to provide added improvement to standard care in elderly patients with OA of the knee. Future research should determine the optimal duration of acupuncture treatment in the context of OA.