Quality of life and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with osteoarthritis pain

Eur J Health Econ. 2008 Aug;9(3):209-19. doi: 10.1007/s10198-007-0062-5. Epub 2007 Jul 19.


To assess quality of life (QoL), costs, and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment plus routine care versus routine care alone in osteoarthritis patients, a randomised, controlled trial was conducted in 255 general practices in Germany. Four hundred and eighty-nine patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee or hip were included to evaluated QoL and costs at baseline and after 3 months using health insurance funds data and standardized questionnaires. Patients receiving acupuncture had an improved QoL associated with significantly higher costs over the 3 months treatment period compared to routine care alone (mean cost-difference: 469.50 euros [95%CI 135.80-803.19 euros]). This increase in costs was primarily due to the costs of acupuncture. The overall ICER was 17,845 euros per QALY gained. The degree of cost-effectiveness was influenced by gender, with female patients achieving a better cost-effectiveness ratio than men. In conclusion, acupuncture was a cost-effective treatment strategy in patients with chronic osteoarthritis pain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture / economics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / economics
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / complications
  • Osteoarthritis / economics
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy*
  • Pain / economics
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management*
  • Quality of Life*