Randomised controlled trial of magnetic bracelets for relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee
Tim Harlow, general practitioner1, Colin Greaves, research fellow2, Adrian White, senior research fellow3, Liz Brown, research assistant4, Anna Hart, statistician5, Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine4
1 College Surgery, Cullompton, Devon EX15 1TG, 2 Peninsula Medical School (Primary Care), Exeter EX2 5DW, 3 Peninsula Medical School, Tamar Science Park, Plymouth PL6 8BX, 4 Peninsula Medical School (Complementary Medicine), Exeter EX2 4NT, 5 Lancashire School of Health and Postgraduate Medicine, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE
Correspondence to: T Harlow, Hospiscare, Dryden Road, Exeter EX2 5JJ email@example.com
Objective To determine the effectiveness of commercially available magnetic bracelets for pain control in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.
Design Randomised, placebo controlled trial with three parallel groups.
Setting Five rural general practices.
Participants 194 men and women aged 45-80 years with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.
Intervention Wearing a standard strength static bipolar magnetic bracelet, a weak magnetic bracelet, or a non-magnetic (dummy) bracelet for 12 weeks.
Main outcome measures Change in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities osteoarthritis lower limb pain scale (WOMAC A) after 12 weeks, with the primary comparison between the standard and dummy groups. Secondary outcomes included changes in WOMAC B and C scales and a visual analogue scale for pain.
Results Mean pain scores were reduced more in the standard magnet group than in the dummy group (mean difference 1.3 points, 95% confidence interval 0.05 to 2.55). Self reported blinding status did not affect the results. The scores for secondary outcome measures were consistent with the WOMAC A scores.
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