Objective: To observe the clinical effect of bee-sting (venom) therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: One hundred RA patients were randomly divided into medication (control) group and bee-venom group, with 50 cases in each. Patients of control group were treated with oral administration of Methotrexate (MTX, 7.5 mg/w), Sulfasalazine (0.5 g,t. i.d.), Meloxicam (Mobic,7. 5 mg, b. i. d.); and those of bee-venom group treated with Bee-sting of Ashi-points and the above-mentioned Western medicines. Ashi-points were selected according to the position of RA and used as the main acupoints, supplemented with other acupoints according to syndrome differentiation. The treatment was given once every other day and all the treatments lasted for 3 months.
Results: Compared with pre-treatment, scores of joint swelling degree, joint activity, pain, and pressing pain, joint-swelling number, grasp force, 15 m-walking duration, morning stiff duration in bee-venom group and medication group were improved significantly (P<0.05, 0.01). Comparison between two groups showed that after the therapy, scores of joint swelling, pain and pressing pain, joint-swelling number and morning stiff duration, and the doses of the administered MTX and Mobic in bee-venom group were all significantly lower than those in medication group (P<0.05, 0.01); whereas the grasp force in been-venom group was markedly higher than that in medication group (P<0.05). In addition, the relapse rate of bee-venom group was obviously lower than that of medication group (P<0.05; 12% vs 32%).
Conclusion: Combined application of bee-venom therapy and medication is superior to simple use of medication in relieving RA, and when bee-sting therapy used, the commonly-taken doses of western medicines may be reduced, and the relapse rate gets lower.