Earlier this year, a review of CAM for rheumatoid arthritis concluded that despite earlier positive reports, marked differences among studies precluded recommendations for a specific acupuncture treatment course.
Researchers from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil randomly assigned 40 patients with active disease to a standard protocol of acupuncture or superficial (sham) acupuncture at non-acupuncture points for 9 weeks.
And, the results.
There was no difference between groups as measured using the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 criteria.
ACR measures improvement in tender or swollen joint counts plus other criteria.
There was no difference in other clinical and laboratorial measures.
Compared to the start of the study, acupuncture was associated with improvement compared to the baseline visit.
The bottom line?
It’s another study that fails to distinguish between real and “sham” acupuncture.
Yes, there was improvement reported with acupuncture compared to the beginning of the study, but there were no significant differences between real and “sham” acupuncture.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.