The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 209–219 | Cite as

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

  • Thomas Reinhold
  • Claudia M. Witt
  • Susanne Jena
  • Benno Brinkhaus
  • Stefan N. Willich
Original paper


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 [95%CI €135.80–€803.19]). This increase in costs was primarily due to the costs of acupuncture. The overall ICER was €17,845 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.


Cost-effectiveness Acupuncture Routine care Randomised controlled trial Osteoarthritis pain 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Reinhold
    • 1
  • Claudia M. Witt
    • 1
  • Susanne Jena
    • 1
  • Benno Brinkhaus
    • 1
  • Stefan N. Willich
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health EconomicsCharité University Medical CenterBerlinGermany

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