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Table 1 Characteristics of six acupuncture randomized controlled trials with equivocal results

From: Real world research: a complementary method to establish the effectiveness of acupuncture

Trials Conditions Interventions Controls Sample size Outcomes Results Practitioner
Brinkhaus B 2006 [9] chronic low back pain verum acupuncture (1) minimal acupuncture; (2) waiting list 298 pain intensity (VAS), back function*, PDI, depression, QOL(SF-36), emotional aspects of pain, pain medication use Significant difference between acupuncture and no treatment. No difference between acupuncture and minimal acupuncture. specialized acupuncture physician
Haake M 2007 [10] chronic low back pain verum acupuncture (1) sham acupuncture; (2) CT 1162 treatment response†, responder rate‡, adverse events Significant difference between acupuncture and conventional therapy. No difference between acupuncture and sham. experienced physician
Cherkin DC 2009 [11] chronic low back pain (1) individualized acupuncture; (2) standardized acupuncture (3) simulated acupuncture; (4) CT 638 dysfunction(RDQ), symptom(bothersome score), physical and mental health(SF-36), loss of days, medication use, adverse events Significant difference between acupuncture and conventional therapy. No difference between acupuncture and sham. experienced acupuncturist
Vas J 2012 [12] acute low back pain verum acupuncture plus CT (1) sham acupuncture plus CT; (2) placebo acupuncture plus CT; (3) CT 275 clinical improvement (RMQ), disability (RMQ), pain intensity(VAS), SEE, adverse events Significant difference between acupuncture and no treatment. No difference between acupuncture and sham or placebo. experienced physician
Macklin EA 2006 [13] moderate essential hypertension (1) individualized acupuncture; (2) standardized acupuncture sham acupuncture 192 blood pressure, QOL, antihypertensive medication use, adverse events No significant difference between acupuncture and sham. licensed acupuncturist
Enblom A 2012 [14] radiotherapy induced nausea and vomiting verum acupuncture plus CT sham acupuncture plus CT 215 nausea and vomiting§, SEE, adverse events Acupuncture was effective for nausea, but no difference between acupuncture and sham. experienced physiotherapist
  1. Abbreviations: VAS, visual analog scale; PDI, Pain Disability Index; QOL, quality of Life; SF-36, the 36-Item Short-Form Quality of Life Questionnaire; CT, conventional treatment; RDQ, modified Roland Disability Questionnaire; RMQ, the 24-pointRoland Morris Disability Questionnaire; SEE, subjectively experienced effects
  2. * Measured by validated German questionnaire FunktionsfragebogenHannover-Rucken
  3. † Measured by Von Korff Chronic Pain Grade Scale or Hanover Functional Ability Questionnaire
  4. ‡ Measured by 12-item Short Form Health Survey, and patient global assessment of therapy effectiveness on a scale of 1 to 6
  5. § Measured by a category scale or VAS