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Moxibustion can enhance the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of conventional medicine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Chinese authors report. Their study involved 46 RA patients who were randomly assigned to a control group treated with drug therapy (methotrexate or leflunomide), or a treatment group who received drugs plus moxibustion at ZusanliST-36, ShenshuBL-23 and ashi points. Compared with the control group, the treatment group showed significant improvement in clinical symptoms. Significant differences in levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-1β) were also found between the groups after eight weeks of treatment, suggesting that moxibustion enhanced the anti-inflammatory effect of drug therapy. Serum biomarkers of angiogenesis (HIF-1α and VEGF) were found to be decreased in the treatment group after therapy, suggesting that moxibustion could also inhibit angiogenesis, a core pathophysiological feature of the inflammation of the synovium which is characteristic of RA. Specific RA-associated serum markers did not show significant differences between the two groups.

Effect of Moxibustion on HIF-1α and VEGF Levels in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Pain Res Manag. 2019 Nov 27;2019:4705247