Acupuncture And Herbs Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief Confirmed
Acupuncture and herbal medicine improve rheumatoid arthritis patient outcomes. Qingdao Integrated Medicine Hospital (Shandong) researchers conclude that a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and drug therapy is more effective than drug monotherapy.  Two groups were compared in a clinical study. One group received a combination of the herbal formula Wen Shen Tong Bi Tang, warm needle acupuncture, diclofenac, and methotrexate. The other group received only diclofenac and methotrexate. At 12 and 18 month follow-up assessments, patients receiving acupuncture, herbs, and drugs had significantly greater patient outcomes than patients receiving only drugs.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms improved significantly for patients receiving the integrative medicine protocol. In addition, objective measurements of RF (rheumatoid factor), CRP (c-reactive protein), and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) also improved significantly. For both subjective and objective factors, the addition of acupuncture and herbs improved patient outcomes.
The study included 180 patients meeting the biomedical and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) diagnostic criteria for RA (rheumatoid arthritis). Further inclusion criteria were as follows: ages 18b 65 years, RA stages 1b 3, no concurrent medical conditions, and the ability to give voluntary consent.
Exclusion criteria were as follows: not meeting diagnostic criteria for RA, pregnancy, lactation, allergies to drugs used in the study, inflammatory disease (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, osteoarthritis, heart, liver, kidney, hematopoietic, serious primary diseases, psychiatric disorders, use of hormone therapy), inability to comply with treatment, or current participation in other trials. Patients were assigned to the acupuncture group (n=90) or the control group (n=90) by random number table, according to recruitment order, gender, age, and disease duration.
Both groups were prescribed methotrexate (10 mg weekly), taken as a single dose and accompanied by folic acid (4 mg). Both groups were also prescribed diclofenac (75mg), twice each day. In addition, patients in the acupuncture group were prescribed Wen Shen Tong Bi Tang herbal formula, which was comprised of the following ingredients:
Sang Ji Sheng 30 mg
Dang Gui 20 mg
Shu Di Huang 20 g
Du Zhong 20 g
Gui Zhi 10 mg
Bai Shao 20 g
Zhi Mu 20 g
Fu Zi 12 g
The formula was prepared at the hospital pharmacy, allowing for uniform decoction preparation. A total of 200 ml was administered daily, divided into two separate doses. Warm acupuncture was also administered at the following acupoints:
With patients in a supine position, 0.3 C 50 mm, single-use needles were inserted and manipulated to elicit deqi. Next, a 1.2 cm piece of moxa was attached to the needle handles and ignited. Once extinguished, moxibustion was repeated once more, giving a total treatment time of 15b