MoxibustionOsteoarthritisRheumatoid Diseases

Review: Moxibustion for rheumatic conditions

Moxibustion, an acupuncture-like treatment, is increasingly used in the management of rheumatic conditions.

Prof. Ernst and colleagues reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • 14 studies of moxibustion as sole treatment or combined with conventional drugs for rheumatic conditions were included in the review.
  • All suffered from poor study design.

And, the results.

  • Meta-analysis of 8 studies suggested significant favorable effects in response rate with moxibustion vs conventional drug therapy.
  • In patients with knee osteoarthritis there was a significant effect of moxibustion vs drug therapy.
    • It failed to do so in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Meta-analysis of 6 studies suggested significant favorable effects of moxibustion plus drug therapy on the response rate vs conventional drug therapy alone.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “This systematic review fails to provide conclusive evidence for the effectiveness of moxibustion compared with drug therapy in rheumatic conditions.”

The problem is that there were only a few studies and they had major differences in study design, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.

2/19/11 20:17 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.