Traditional Chinese medicine in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Author: Hou PW1, Fu PK2, Hsu HC1, Hsieh CL3.
1Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan. 2Division of Critical Care and Respiratory Therapy, Department of Internal Medicine, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung 40705, Taiwan. 3Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 40447, Taiwan ; Graduate Institute of Integrated Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan.
Conference/Journal: J Tradit Complement Med.
Date published: 2015 Jul 2
Other: Volume ID: 5 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 182-196 , Word Count: 355

To evaluate whether the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM; zhōng yī) influences symptoms or functional outcomes in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee ( xī guān jié yán). A systematic review of randomized control trials was conducted. Searches for studies in PubMed that were performed between 1965 and August 2013, and retrieved studies were subjected to reference screening. The types of studies included in our review were 1) placebo-based or comparative studies; 2) open label, single-blinded or double-blinded studies; 3) studies evaluating the efficacy of TCM for treating OA of the knee; and 4) studies evaluating only TCM or combination preparations. Trials were conducted with participants over 18 years of age with knee pain and at least three of the following characteristics: 1) an age greater than 50 years; 2) morning stiffness lasting for fewer than 30 min; 3) a crackling or grating sensation; 4) bony tenderness of the knee; 5) bony enlargement of the knee; or 6) no detectable warmth of the joint to the touch. Studies were rated for risk of bias and graded for quality. After screening, 104 studies that satisfied the eligibility requirements were identified, and only 18 randomized control trials were included in the quantitative and qualitative synthesis. Upon review, we found "moderate-quality" evidence of effects from acupuncture ( zhēn jiǔ) on pain, which was measured using a visual analogue scale, and physical function, which was measured using qigong ( qì gōng) with motion. "Low-quality" evidence was found regarding the effects of acupuncture on physical function, and no evidence was found regarding the effects of herbal medicine on pain or physical function. Herbal patches ( yào bù) appeared to affect pain and physical and function, but these effects were not found to be significant. The initial findings included in this review suggest that acupuncture is a promising intervention according to the primary outcome measure, pain, and qigong with motion is an effective method for treating physical function. However, according to the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria, only moderate-quality evidence was found in these studies. Further rigorous studies are warranted to investigate the application of TCM in treating OA of knee.
acupuncture; knee; massage; osteoarthritis; qigong; traditional Chinese medicine
PMID: 26587390