Clinical Trial: Acupuncture Safety/Efficacy in Knee Osteoarthritis

This study has been completed.

Sponsored by: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Information provided by: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)


The goal of this research is to determine the efficacy and safety of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA) in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. A three arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) using sham TCA, true TCA, and an education/attention comparison group with a total sample of 525 is proposed. Primary hypothesis to be tested is that patients randomized to true TCA will have significantly more improvement in pain and function as measured by the Womac Pain & Function Scales and patient global assessments than patients randomized to the sham acupuncture and education/attention control groups.

Secondary aims of the study are to 1) determine if improvement with TCA differs between patients below age 65 vs. those aged 65 and above, 2) to determine if improvement with TCA differs by racial/ethnic group (ie., Caucasian, Black, Hispanic), and 3) to determine if improvement with TCA differs by stage of radiographic severity of knee OA at baseline (KL grade 2, 3 or 4)

Condition Treatment or Intervention Phase
Osteoarthritis, Knee
 Procedure: Acupuncture
Phase III

MedlinePlus related topics:  Osteoarthritis

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Treatment, Randomized, Single Blind


Ages Eligible for Study:  50 Years and above,  Genders Eligible for Study:  Both


Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee (fulfilling ACR criteria) for at least 6 months duration
  • At least moderate pain in the knee for most days in the last month
  • Must be taking analgesic or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents for control of pain
  • Documented radiographic changes of osteoarthritis (Kellgren-Lawrence grade>2) at the time of rheumatological screening
  • Signed informed consent

Location Information

      Catonsville Clinic, Catonsville,  Maryland,  21228,  United States

      Kernan Hospital Mansion, Baltimore,  Maryland,  21207,  United States

New York
      Hospital for Special Surgery, New York,  New York,  United States

Study chairs or principal investigators

Dr. Brian Berman,  Principal Investigator,  University of Maryland/Complementary Medicine Program   

More Information


Berman BM, Singh BB, Lao L, Langenberg P, Li H, Hadhazy V, Bareta J, Hochberg M. A randomized trial of acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee. Rheumatology (Oxford). 1999 Apr;38(4):346-54.

Berman BM, Lao L, Greene M, Anderson RW, Wong RH, Langenberg P, Hochberg MC. Efficacy of traditional Chinese acupuncture in the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a pilot study. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1995 Jun;3(2):139-42. No abstract available.

Study ID Numbers:  1 U01 AT00171-01M; 1 U01 AT00171-01
Record last reviewed:  October 2004
Last Updated:  October 20, 2004
Record first received:  February 2, 2001 Identifier:  NCT00010946
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government processed this record on 2005-04-08

Cache Date: April 9, 2005