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Blood-nourishing and hard-softening capsule costs less in the management of osteoarthriticknee pain : A randomized controlled trial

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journal contribution
posted on 2005-07-26, 00:00 authored by Y Cao, Y Shi, Y Zheng, M Shi, Sing Lo
The blood-nourishing and hard-softening (BNHS) capsule is a traditional Chinese formula used in the symptomatic treatment of inflammation and pain. We conducted this randomized controlled trial to compare the efficacy of BNHS with other commonly prescribed drugs. We recruited 120 patients from two teaching hospitals; 30 patients in each hospital were randomly assigned to receive BNHS. In one hospital, the 30 controls were given another traditional Chinese drug; whereas a Western medicine (chondroprotection drug/Viartril-s) was used as the control in the other hospital. Intervention was carried out over a period of 4 weeks. Primary outcome measures included self-reported pain level, and changes in stiffness and functional ability as measured by the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) index. Mixed models were used for statistical analysis. Substantial improvements in disease-specific symptoms were observed, after 4 weeks of treatment, in patients taking BNHS capsules. As assessed by the WOMAC index, pain level of the BNHS group decreased by 57% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 50, 63], stiffness by 63% (95% CI = 55, 71) and functional ability increased by 56% (95% CI = 50, 63). No significant differences were found in any of the outcome measures between the BNHS group and either of the comparison groups. No severe adverse effects were reported. However, this study lacked a placebo group; therefore, we conclude that BNHS appears to be as effective as commonly prescribed medicines for the relief of pain and dysfunction in knee osteoarthritis patients, but costs a lot less than other Western and herbal drugs in the study.



Evidence - based complementary and alternative medicine






363 - 368


Oxford University Press


Oxford, England





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, The Authors