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Table 1 Study design of all included studies

From: Acupuncture and moxibustion for lateral elbow pain: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

1st Author (year) Design, Follow-up Intervention, treatment duration Details of intervention
   Treatment group Control group Treatment group Control group
Chen (2010) [30] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 3 days for 15 days Triamcinolone acetonide injection, 1 treatment every 5 days for 15 days Local tender points, superficial, strong manual manipulation, needles retained for 1 min. Triamcinolone acetonide 40 mg, 2% lidocaine 2 ml injected at area of pain
Davidson (2001) [18] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Acupuncture, 2–3 treatments per week for 4 weeks Ultrasound, 2–3 treatments per week for 4 weeks LI 4, SJ 5, LI 10, LI 11, LI 12, manual manipulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 20 min. Pulsated ultrasound for 10 min. over area of lateral epicondyle
Fink (2002) [15] 2 parallel arms, 2 months Acupuncture, 2 treatments per week for 5 weeks Sham-acupuncture, 2 treatments per week for 5 weeks 1 local tender point, LI 10, LI 11, LU 5, LI 4 and SJ 5, manual manipulation to obtain De-qi, needles retained for 25 min. Same as treatment group, but needles placed at least 5 cm away from real acupoint, area clear of tender points
Grua (1999) [19] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Acupuncture, 1–2 treatments per week for approx. 5 weeks (total of 10 treatments) Ultrasound, massage, 1 treatment per day for 12 days LI 4, LI 10, LI 11, LI 12, LI 15, PC 5, PC 7, GB 20, GB 21, GB 34, ST 37, ST 38, manual manipulation needles retained for 20 min. Pulsated ultrasound for 5 min., massage for 5 min., both at area of lateral epicondyle
Irnich (2003) [17] 2 parallel arms, 2 weeks Acupuncture, 3 treatments for 10 days Sham-acupuncture, 3 treatments for 10 days LI 4, LI 10, SI 3, SJ 5, GB 34, intermittent manual manipulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 25 min. Same as treatment group, but needles placed 1 cun away from real acupoint
Jin (2005) [33] 2 parallel arms, 1 month Single scarring ginger- moxibustion Prednisolone compound injection, 1 treatment per week for 2 weeks Local tender points, ginger- moxibustion, 7 cones per acupoint 2% lidocaine 1 ml, prednisolone 1 ml, Vitamin B1 50 mg, Vitamin B12 250 μg injected at area of pain
Li (1998) [28] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported AMC, 1 treatment every 1 or 2 days for 2 months Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 2 days for 2 months Local tender points, LI 4, LI 10, LI 11, AMC, manual stimulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 15–20 min., moxibustion with moxa-stick until local area reddened Same as treatment group, but only manual stimulation to obtain and maintain De-qi
Li (2007) [22] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Ginger-moxibustion, 1 treatment every 2 days for 14 days Prednisolone injection, 1 treatment every 5–7 days for 14–21 days SJ 10, LI 11, manual stimulation to obtain De-qi, needles not retained, ginger-moxibustion 5–7 cones per acupoint 2% lidocaine 2 ml, prednisolone 25 mg injected at area of pain
Liu (2008) [23] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported AMC, 1 treatment every 2 days for 28 days Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 2 days for 28 days Local tender points, LI 4, LI 10, LI 11, SJ 5, AMC, manual stimulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, needle retained for 20–30 min., indirect moxibustion, 3–5 cones per acupoint Same as treatment group, but only manual stimulation to obtain and maintain De-qi
Lin (2011) [21] 2 parallel arms, 1 month Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 2 days for 20 days Prednisolone injection, 1 treatment every 10 days for 20 days LI 11, 1 most tender point on lateral aspect of elbow, 3 points 0.5-1 cun distal to the most tender point, manual manipulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 30 min. Prednisolone 5 ml, 2% procaine 1.5 ml injected at area of pain
Molsberger (1994) [16] 2 parallel arms, 3 days Acupuncture, 1 treatment only Sham-acupuncture, 1 treatment only Ipsilateral GB 34, manual manipulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 5 min. BL13 non-needle sham acupuncture, stimulation with a pencil-like probe at beginning and after 5 min.
Shen (1999) [20] 3 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Electro-acupuncture, 1 treatment per day for 10 days Control 1: AMC, 1 treatment per day for 10 days Local tender points, manual manipulation to obtain De-qi followed by electric stimulation for 30 min., heat lamp for 30 min. Control 1: Same as treatment group but AMC, needle retainment for 30 min., indirect moxibustion (moxa stick)
    Control 2: Prednisolone, 1 treatment per week for 3 weeks   Control 2: Prednisolone 20 mg injected at area of pain
Wang (2007) [24] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported AMC, 1 treatment per day for 10 days Acupuncture, 1 treatment per day for 10 days LI 10, LI 11, SJ 10, PC 6, REN 12, ST 36, SP 6, points chosen based on TCM pattern diagnosis, AMC, De-qi obtained, duration of needle retainment not reported, indirect moxibustion 3 cones per acupoint Same as treatment group, but only manual stimulation to obtain De-qi, no additional stimulation during treatment, duration of needle retainment not reported
Wang (2008) [25] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported AMC, 1 treatment every 3 days for 30 days Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 3 days for 30 days 5 local tender points, LI 4, AMC, even manual stimulation technique to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 30 min., indirect moxibustion, 2–3 cones per acupoint LI 4, LI 10, LI11, LI 12, manual stimulation every 10 min., needles retained for 30 min.
Wu (2003) [26] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported AMC, 1 treatment every 2 days for 14 days Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 2 days for 14 days Local tender points, LI 4, LI 10, LI 11, SJ 5, manual manipulation for 1 min. to obtain and maintain De-qi, needles retained for 30 min., indirect moxibustion 3–5 cones per acupoint 1 local tender point was selected, De-qi obtained, needles retained for 30 min.
Xu (2010) [29] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Single scarring ginger-moxibustion Prednisolone injection, 1 treatment every 5 days for 15 days Local tender points, ginger- moxibustion, duration not reported Prednisolone 25 mg, 2% procaine 2 ml injected at area of pain
Zha (2004) [31] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 2 days for 14 days Hydrocortisone acetate injection, 1 treatment per week for two weeks Local tender points, manual manipulation, duration of needle retainment not reported 2% lidocaine 5 ml, hydrocortisone-acetate 125 mg (1 ml) injected at area of pain.
Zhang (2007) [32] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported Acupuncture, 1 treatment every 2 days for 20 days Meloxicam tablets oral intake, 1 treatment every 2 days for 20 days 1 local tender point and 2 points at 2 cm apart from the tender point, manual manipulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, duration of needle retainment not reported Meloxicam tablets 7.5 mg/ day
Zhao (2003) [27] 2 parallel arms, follow-up duration not reported AMC, 1 treatment per day for 10 days Acupuncture, 1 treatment per day for 10 days Local tender points, manual manipulation to obtain and maintain De-qi, duration of needle retainment not reported, indirect moxibustion (moxa stick) until local area reddened Acupuncture at local tender points, manual stimulation, duration of needle retainment not reported
  1. AMC: acupuncture and moxibustion combined.