Background Traditional Indian Medicine Ayurveda is used to treat knee osteoarthritis (OA) despite limited evidence.
Objectives We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of complex Ayurvedic treatment compared to complex conventional care in knee OA patients.
Methods According to ACR criteria patients with knee OA were included in a multicenter randomized, controlled trial and treated in 2 hospital outpatient clinics and 2 private outpatient clinics in Germany with 5 physicians and 20 therapists participating. Patients received either Ayurvedic treatment (n=77) or conventional care (n=74) with 15 treatments over 12 weeks. Primary outcome was the change on the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) Index after 12 weeks (validated German version). Secondary outcomes included the WOMAC subscales; a pain disability index, numeric rating scales for pain and sleep quality, a pain experience scale, a quality-of-life index, a profile of mood index, rescue medication use, and safety issues.
Results A total of 151 patients (Ayurveda n=77, conventional care n=74) were included. Changes of the WOMAC Index from baseline to 12 weeks were more pronounced in the Ayurveda group (mean difference 61.0 [95% CI 52.4;69.6]) than in the conventional group (32.0 [95% CI 21.4;42.6]) resulting in a significant difference between groups (p<0.001) and a clinically relevant effect size (Cohen's d 0.68 [95% CI 0.35;1.01]). Similar tendencies were observed for all secondary outcomes at week 12. Effects were sustainable at follow-ups after 6 and 12 months.
Conclusions The results suggest that a complex Ayurvedic treatment might be clinically superior to a complex conventional intervention in the treatment of OA of the knee.
Disclosure of Interest None declared