The objective of this review was to evaluate the effects of acupuncture on pain and function in patients with chronic knee pain. Thirteen RCTs were included, of which eight used adequate acupuncture and provided WOMAC outcomes, so were combined in meta-analyses. The results showed that acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture for both pain and for WOMAC function subscale . The differences were still significant at long-term follow-up. Acupuncture was also significantly superior to no additional intervention. There were insufficient studies to compare acupuncture with other sham or active interventions. The authors conclude that acupuncture that meets criteria for adequate treatment is significantly superior to sham acupuncture and to no additional intervention in improving pain and function in patients with chronic knee pain. Due to the heterogeneity in the results, however, further research is required to confirm these findings and provide more information on long-term effects.
Rheumatology 2007 46(3):384-390