Main Article Content
Objective: To study the efficacy of 0.0125% capsaicin patch at acupuncture point for pain relief in knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted during September 2014
to March 2015. Sixty-two ambulatory patients over 50 years of age with a diagnosis of knee OA were included. All
enrolled patients had a pain score of 4-7 out of 10. Participants were randomized into either the treatment (capsaicin,
n=31) or control (placebo, n=31) group.
Interventions: Capsaicin vs. placebo patch at ST34 (1), SP10 (2), ST35 (3), EX-LE4 (Neixiyan) (4), ST36 (5), and
SP9 (6) acupuncture points for 4 weeks. Main outcome measure: Pain subscale of modified Thai version of Western
Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index was assessed at baseline, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after treatment.
Results: Pain subscale of modified Thai version of WOMAC showed no significant difference between groups at
baseline, 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks after treatment. After 2 weeks of treatment, the pain subscale score in the treatment
group was significantly decreased from baseline (p<0.001). After 4 weeks of treatment, the pain subscale score in
the placebo group was significantly decreased from baseline (p<0.006).
Conclusion: Capsaicin patch at acupuncture point for pain relief in knee OA yielded no significant difference
between groups. However, significant pain relief from baseline was observed in the treatment group after 2 weeks
of treatment and in the placebo group after 4 weeks of treatment. Further study with higher capsaicin concentration
and/or larger size patch should be considered.
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