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Table 2 Outcomes of randomized controlled trials comparing acupuncture and sham acupuncture

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

Studies Number of subjects, intervention Outcome measurement Outcomes Treatment effect
  Treatment group Control group   Treatment group Control group  
Fink (2002) [15] Acupuncture Sham-acupuncture Strength test (peak muscle force):    MD (95% CI)
N = 14 N = 15 mean ± SD At baseline: 90.5 ± 40.40 At baseline: 77.7± 36.40 12.80 (−15.26 to 40.86), P = 0.37
    At 2 weeks FU: 128.2 ± 41.64 At 2 weeks FU: 92.75 ± 34.78 35.45 (7.42 to 63.48), P = 0.01*
    At 2 months FU: 142.9 ± 41.56 At 2 months FU: 114.2 ± 46.08 28.70 (−3.20 to 60.60), P = 0.08
   Pain (VAS): mean ± SD At baseline: 16.46 ± 3.10 At baseline: 17.17 ± 3.76 −1.24 (−3.74 to 1.26), P = 0.33
    At 2 weeks FU: 8.03 ± 4.60 At 2 weeks FU: 12.28 ± 4.14 −4.25 (−7.44 to −1.06), P = 0.009*
    At 2 months FU: 6.01 ± 5.09 At 2 months FU: 8.73 ± 5.03 −2.72 (−6.41 to 0.97), P = 0.15
    DASH scores: mean ± SD At baseline: 38.08 ± 13.66 At baseline: 33.72 ± 13.05 4.36 (−5.38 to 14.10), P = 0.38
    At 2 weeks FU: 14.38 ± 9.35 At 2 weeks FU: 25.18 ± 13.63 −10.80 (−19.26 to −2.34), P = 0.01*
    At 2 months FU: 11.14 ± 13.10 At 2 months FU: 18.85 ± 13.75 −7.71 (−17.48 to 2.06), P = 0.12
Irnich (2003) [17] Acupuncture Sham-acupuncture Pressure pain threshold (kg/cm2):    
N = 25 N = 25 mean ± SD At baseline: 3.15 ± 0.69 At baseline: 2.68 ± 0.65 0.47 (0.10 to 0.84), P = 0.01*
    At first treatment: 0.32 ± 0.31 At first treatment: 0.16 ± 0.176 0.16 (0.02 to 0.30), P = 0.02*
    At last treatment: 0.93 ± 0.49 At last treatment: 0.63 ± 0.42 0.30 (0.05 to 0.55), P = 0.02*
    At 2 weeks FU: 1.30 ± 0.60 At 2 weeks FU: 0.66 ± 0.49 0.64 (0.34 to 0.94), P < 0.0001*
   Pain-free grip strength: At baseline: 64.7 ± 34.00 At baseline: 53.7 ± 17.70 11.00 (−4.03 to 26.03), P = 0.15
   mean ± SD At first treatment: 7.12 ± 8.13 At first treatment: 2.47 ± 3.14 4.65 (1.23 to 8.07), P = 0.008*
    At last treatment: 21.54 ± 14.35 At last treatment: 8.53 ± 9.05 13.01 (6.36 to 19.66), P = 0.0001*
    At 2 weeks FU: 27.95 ± 15.66 At 2 weeks FU: 7.4 ± 7.90 20.55 (13.67 to 27.43), P < 0.00001*
   Impairment caused by pain (NRS): At baseline: 8.19 At baseline: 7.72 Calculation of MD not possible
    At first treatment: −1.57 At first treatment: −0.80  
    At last treatment: −4.31 At last treatment: −2.04*  
    At 2 weeks FU: −4.77 (59% mean decrease in impairment caused by pain) At 2 weeks FU: −1.88* (24% mean decrease in impairment caused by pain)  
Molsberger (1994) [16] Acupuncture Sham-acupuncture 11-point box pain scale (NRS): Immediately after treatment: Immediately after treatment: MD (95% CI)
N = 24 N = 24   55.8% (2.95) mean pain reduction, 15.0% (2.77) mean pain reduction, 40.80 (39.18 to 42.42), P < 0.001*
    19/24 subjects reported pain relief of ≥ 50% (NRS ≥ 5) 6/24 subjects reported pain relief of ≥ 50% (NRS ≥ 5) RR (95% CI) 3.17 (1.53 to 6.52), P < 0.002*
  1. *: P < 0.05 statistically significant difference between two groups.
  2. DASH score, Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score; FU, follow-up; NRS, Numeric Rating Scale; SD, Standard Deviation; MD, Mean Difference; RR, Relative Risk; VAS, Visual Analogue Rating Scale.