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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-8

Clinical evaluation of leech therapy in the management of knee osteoarthritis: A pilot study

1 Department of Moalajat, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Magadi Road, Bangalore, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, (AKTC), AMU, Aligarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Azad Hussain Lone
Department of Moalajat, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Magadi Road, Bangalore - 91
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most common form of arthritis and is a major cause of pain and disability in the elderly. The reported prevalence of OA from a study in rural India is 5.78%. In India, OA of knee joint is more common than of hip joint. Leech therapy has been suggested and successfully practiced by Unani physicians in the management of musculoskeletal and chronic skin disease since antiquity. Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of leech therapy in the management of knee OA on scientific parameters. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in National Institute of Unani Medicine Hospital; Bangalore, India, Thirty patients of OA were enrolled in the trial after obtaining their informed consents. All the patients were clinically assessed and diagnosed on the basis of thorough history, clinical and radiological examination of the affected joint. Then, four leeches were applied on the affected joint for a period of approximately 30 minutes. The severity of OA and efficacy of leech therapy was assessed by Western Ontario and McMaster University (WOMAC) Score and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) Score. Then, the results were compared with each other, employing a Paired Student's t-test. Results: The results showed significant reduction in the WOMAC and VAS scores of post-treatment group (P <0.01) as compared to pre-treatment scores. Conclusion: It is concluded that leech therapy may be used safely and effectively in the management of OA, after considering its safety and effectiveness.

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