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The evidence on acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis – editorial summary on the implications for health policy
  1. Adrian White
  1. Peninsula Medical School Plymouth, UK
  1. Kenji Kawakita
  1. Department of Physiology Meiji University of Oriental Medicine Japan
  1. adrian.white{at}


Decisions on whether a health service should provide a particular treatment are based on the evidence on three questions: 1) whether the treatment can work, ie it is biologically active; 2) whether the treatment is safe and effective in daily practice; and 3) whether it is economically worthwhile. Evidence presented at the Kyoto conference shows that acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee has a biological effect, has a large clinical effect in practice, has negligible risk, and has a cost effectiveness which is well within the usual acceptable limit. On the present evidence, acupuncture is likely to offer an alternative to treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

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