Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text
To determine whether the administration of moxibustion is an effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis (KOA).
We conducted a search of relevant articles using Medline, EMBASE, the Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library published before October 2015. The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities’ Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC scale) and the short form 36 questionnaire (SF-36 scale) were assessed. Evidence grading was evaluated according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system.
Four studies containing 746 participants fulfilled the inclusion criteria in the final analysis. In terms of quality of life (QOL), the meta-analysis of 2 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) showed significantly effects of moxibustion only in bodily pain (BP) compared with those in the control group (n = 348; weighted mean difference [WMD], 4.36; 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 2.27–6.44; P < 0.0001; heterogeneity: χ 2 = 1.53, P = 0.22, I 2 = 34%) in all of the subcategories of the SF-36 scale, with moderate quality. The meta-analysis of the 2 included trials showed that there was not a statistically significant difference in the pain or function subscale for the WOMAC scale when the 2 groups were compared (n = 322; WMD, 17.63; 95% CI, −23.15–58.41; P = 0.40; heterogeneity: χ 2 = 19.42, P < 0.0001, I 2 = 95%), with low or moderate quality separately.
The administration of moxibustion can to some extent alleviate the symptoms of KOA. More rigorous, randomized controlled trials are required in the future.