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Hand osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent joint disorder and a great burden to both patients and society. While electroacupuncture (EA) and topical diclofenac sodium gel (DSG) are both currently used to treat OA, no head-to-head study of EA and topical DSG for hand OA exists. Thus, it remains unknown whether one intervention offers improved outcomes over the other. This study aims to compare the effects of EA and topical DSG in patients with hand OA. A total of 108 participants with hand OA according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria will be recruited and randomly assigned to the EA group or topical DSG group with a 1:1 allocation ratio. Participants in the EA group will receive EA treatment thrice weekly for 4 weeks, followed by a 12-week follow-up. In the topical DSG group, topical DSG at a dose of 2 g over the affected joints per hand will be applied four times per day for 4 weeks. The outcomes will be measured at weeks 4, 8, and 16. The primary outcome will be the change in average overall finger joint pain intensity in the dominant hand from baseline to week 4. All outcome variables will be analyzed on an intention-to-treat principle. All statistical tests will be two-sided. This study will help determine which of the two treatment protocols, EA or topical DSG, is more effective for the clinical treatment of hand OA. Trial registration identifier: NCT04402047. Registered 16 May 2020, © 2022. The Author(s).


Weiming Wang, Shudan Yu, Zilin Long, Yan Liu, Yan Yan, Tianheng Sun, Zhishun Liu. Electroacupuncture vs topical diclofenac sodium gel for patients with hand osteoarthritis: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research. 2022 Apr 12;17(1):233

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PMID: 35413861

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