NSAID ionisation in the management of soft-tissue rheumatism: role played by the drug, electrical stimulation and suggestion

Clin Exp Rheumatol. Jul-Sep 1986;4(3):265-7.


Four treatments for soft-tissue rheumatism--sham ionisation, placebo ionisation, and pharmacological ionisation with pirprofen (two-dose levels)--were assessed in a randomized double-blind, between-patient controlled trial in 73 outpatients affected by scapulo-humeral periarthritis or elbow epicondylitis. Treatment lasted two weeks (5 sessions a week). Progress was measured by patient's assessment on pain at rest and on movement and by physician's assessment on functional impairment. At two weeks each treatment was associated with a significant degree of improvement; however, pharmacological ionisation produced a significantly higher improvement in symptoms. No differences were detected between sham ionisation and placebo ionisation. These results suggest that the ionisation procedure displays per se a moderate therapeutic effect which seems to be due more to a simple placebo effect than to the biological effect of electricity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electricity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Phenylpropionates / administration & dosage*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tennis Elbow / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Ions
  • Phenylpropionates
  • pirprofen