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Table 3 Outcomes of randomized controlled trials comparing acupuncture and conventional therapy

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

Studies Intervention and number of subjects Outcome measurement Outcomes** Treatment effect
  Treatment group Control group   Treatment group Control group  
Chen (2010) [30] Acupuncture
N = 33
Triamcinolone acetonide injection
N = 33
Pain relief and grip strength: cured rate based on subjective report 30/33 Cured
Cured rate: 92.4%
14/33 Cured
Cured rate: 42.4%
RR (95% CI)
2.14 (1.42 to 3.23)
P = 0.0003*
Davidson (2001) [18] Acupuncture
N = 8
Pulsated ultrasound
N = 8
Pain-free grip strength: mean ± SD At first treatment: 10.25 ± 5.84 At first treatment: 6.08 ± 4.19 MD (95% CI)
4.17 (−0.81 to 9.15), P = 0.10.
    At last treatment: 14.09 ± 9.53 At last treatment: 11.96 ± 12.28 2.13 (−8.64 to 12.90), P = 0.70
   Pain Score (VAS): mean ± SD At first treatment: 39.63 ± 29.51 At first treatment: 46.50 ± 26.91 −6.81 (−34.48 to 20.86), P = 0.63
    At last treatment: 13.63 ± 13.79 At last treatment: 32.69 ± 29.21 −19.06 (−41.44 to 3.32), P = 0.10
   DASH score: mean ± SD At first treatment: 36.35 ± 25.54 At first treatment: 38.02 ± 15.24 −1.67 (−22.28 to 18.94), P = 0.87
    At last treatment: 23.75 ± 17.73 At last treatment: 33.23 ± 24.06 −9.48 (−30.19 to 11.23), P = 0.37
    At 4 week FU: 23.75 ± 18.41 At 4 week FU: 22.40 ± 18.73 1.35 (−16.85 to 19.55), P = 0.88
Grua (1999) [19] Acupuncture
N = 20
Pulsated ultrasound, massage
N = 20
Maigne functional recovery test: mean ± SD At first visit: 15.0 ± 2.36 At first visit: 15.0 ± 2.70 MD (95% CI)
0.00 (−1.57 to 1.57), P = 1.00
   At last treatment: 5.80 ± 3.37 At last treatment: 9.80 ± 3.65 −4.00 (−6.18 to −1.82), P = 0.0003*
    At 6 months FU: 5.20 ± 3.64 At 6 months FU: 10.0 ± 3.45 −4.80 (−7.00 to −2.60, P < 0.0001*
   Pain Score(VAS): mean ± SD At first visit: 7.05 ± 1.47 At first visit: 7.05 ± 1.39 0.00 (−0.89 to 0.89), P = 1.00
    At last treatment: 2.85 ± 1.81 At last treatment: 4.49 ± 1.64 −1.64 (−2.71 to −0.57), P = 0.003*
    At 6 months FU: 2.05 ± 1.39 At 6 months FU: 4.90 ± 1.45 −2.85 (−3.73 to −1.97), P < 0.00001*
Lin (2011) [21] Acupuncture
N = 36
Prednisolone injection
N = 36
Pain relief: VAS, cured rate based on subjective report 20/36 Cured
Cured rate: 55.5%
13/36 Cured
Cured rate: 36.1%
RR (95% CI)
1.54 (0.91 to 2.60)
P = 0.11
Shen (1999) [20] Electro-acupuncture
N = 41
Prednisolone injection
N = 20
Pain relief and range of movement: cured rate based on subjective report 32/41 Cured
Cured rate: 78%
7/20 Cured
Cured rate: 35%
RR (95% CI)
2.23 (1.20 to 4.14)
P = 0.01*
Zha (2004) [31] Acupuncture
N = 57
Hydrocortisone injection
N = 60
Pain relief and range of movement: cured rate based on ADL score 8/57 Cured
Cured rate: 14.03%
6/60 Cured
Cured rate: 10%
RR (95% CI)
1.40 (0.52 to 3.80)
P = 0.5
Zhang (2007) [32] Acupuncture
N = 36
Meloxicam tablets
N = 32
Pain relief and range of movement: cured rate based on subjective report 26/36 Cured
Cured rate: 72.2%
15/32 Cured
Cured rate: 46.9%
RR (95% CI)
1.54 (1.01 to 2.34)
P = 0.04*
  1. *: P < 0.05 statistically significant difference between two groups. **: Outcomes were measured at the end of last treatment, except for those specifically mentioned.
  2. ADL, Activities of daily living scale; 95% CI, 95% Confidence Interval; DASH score, Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score; FU, follow-up; RR, Relative Risk; SD, Standard Deviation; MD, Mean Difference; VAS, Visual Analogue Rating Scale.