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Table 2 Characteristics of trials of TENS for pain relief in patients with knee osteoarthritis

From: Short-term efficacy of physical interventions in osteoarthritic knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials

First author, publication year Type No of patients on active therapy (n = 259) Method quality Treat-ment period (weeks) Mean baseline pain (mm VAS) Best mean difference (95% CI) of change over placebo (mm VAS) Outcome time points (in weeks, max. effect in bold)
Adedoyin-03 IF 15 3 4 81.0 25.4 (8.2 to 42.6) 1, 2, 3,4
Cheing-02 TENS 16 4 2 - 8.4 (0.7 to 16.1) 2, 4
Cheing-03 TENS 30 3 2 50.3 32.2 (23.9 to 40.5) 4, 8
Defrin-05 IF 45 4 4 71.0 41.6 (33.4 to 49.8) 4
Fargas-Babjak-89 TENS 19 3 12 - 45.3 (11.7 to 78.9) 6, 12
Law-05 ALTENS/TENS 27 4 2 57.3 29.7 (7.6 to 51.3) 2, 4
Lewis-84** TENS 29 3 3 - 7.0 (-5.6 to 19.6) 3
Lewis-94** TENS 28 1 3 - 4.9 (-8.4 to 18.3) 3
Smith-83 TENS 15 3 4 - dichotomous data only 4
Taylor-81** TENS 10 2 2 - 5.5 (-7.3 to 17.8) 2
Yurtkuran-99 ALTENS 25 3 2 - 20.0 (14.1 to 25.9) 2
Best within 4 weeks, all trials   223     18.8 (9.6 to 28.1)  
Best within 4 weeks, optimal trials   156     22.2 (18.1 to 26.3)  
8 weeks   30     8.3 (-1.1 to 17.6)  
Global improvement 8 weeks   15     1.8 (0.6 to 4.8) Relative Risk  
Overall   259 3.3*   63.8†   2.8*
  1. *Mean † Weighted mean – Not Available ** Trials with non-optimal treatment