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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Beneficial Effects of Laser Therapy in the Early Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis Onset

Contantin Ailioaie1, Laura Marinela Lupusoru-Ailioaie2 1Medical Office for Laser Therapy, 1 Bistrita, B10-2, 6600-Iassy, Romania, 2AI.I. Cuza University, Dept. of Medical Physics, Iassy, Romania

LLLT Original Articles, Laser therapy Volume. 11-2, pg.79

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of laser therapy in pain reduction and/or recovery of patients at the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), comparatively with the traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDSs). Fifty-nine patients with RA of 6-12 months duration were included in the study. The patients were divided into 3 groups: Group 1 (21 patients) received laser therapy; Group 2 (18 patients) was submitted to placebo laser therapy and NSAIDs medication; Group 3 (20 patients) was treated only with NSAIDs. Physical therapy was instituted in all three groups. GaAIAs diode laser of 830 nm wavelength and 200mW maximum output power was used. Group 1 received laser therapy once each day, eight days per month, for a total of 32 treatments during a four-month period. The parameters used were 2-4 J/cm2 energy density, and a frequency of 5 Hz or 10 Hz depending on the number and severity of pain in the affected joints. Placebo laser treatment was given to group 2. the functional activity score, the acute pain phase reactants (ESR and C – reactive protein), T-lymphocytes and NK (natural killer) – cells were estimated. Synovial biopsies and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the synovial membrane were performed as well. The analysis of the clinical and biological parameters at the end of treatment showed a statistically significant decrease of duration of morning stiffness, of pain at rest and during movements, and improved acute phase reactants. The overall efficacy rate in these studies was 86% in the first group, 50% in laser placebo group and 40% in the NSAIDs-treated third group. After four months of treatment, our investigations showed that 830 nm infrared laser therapy promoted the restoration of function, relieved pain and limited the complications of RA.

The Effects of Laser Therapy in the Early Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis Onset

C. Ailioaie, M. D.
Medical Office for Laser Therapy, Iassy, RO
Laura Marinela Lupusoru-Ailioaie, M. D.
"Al.I.Cuza" University, Dept. of Medical Physics, Iassy, RO

PURPOSE: To study the effects of laser therapy, in comparison with other modality trials (NSAIDs), at the onset of (RA).

In the study 59 patients were included, in the first 6 - 12 months from RA onset. The patients were divided into three groups: Group 1 (21 patients) received laser therapy; Group 2 (18 patients) was submitted to placebo laser therapy and NSAIDs medication; Group 3 (20 patients) was treated only with NSAIDs. Physical therapy was instituted in all three groups. A GaAIAs diode laser (830 nm, maximum output power 200 mW) was used. During 4 months, courses of laser therapy - once daily for 8 days, monthly - were administered to Group 1 and laser placebo Group 2. The density of energy (2 - 4 J/cm2) and frequency (5 Hz or 10 Hz) were dependent on the number and severity of pain in affected joints.

The analysis of the clinical and biological parameters at the end of treatment showed a statistical significant decrease of duration of morning stiffness of pain at rest and during movements and improved acute phase reactants. The overall efficacy rate in these studies was 86% in group 1, 50% in the placebo laser group, and 40% in group 3.

After 4 months of treatment, our investigations showed that infra-red laser therapy was able to restore function, to relieve pain and to avoid the complications of the disease or NSAIDs therapy (digestive or renal) at RA onset, beeing the most perspective modality of treatment.

The effect of laser therapy in complex treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Korolkova O M et al.

115 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) of II-III degrees were treated with basic RA medications and infrared laser. In a control group of 20 patients only basic medication was given. 10 areas of the body were irradiated daily, increasing the dose every day during a period of 8-10 days. The effectiveness of the therapy was controlled through laboratory tests on i.a. inflammatory agents and the activity of lipid peroxidation. The results were statistically significant. The best effect was found in patients with degree II RA. Steroid medication could be reduced 8-10 days earlier in this group of patients and in some cases the medication could even be excluded. Degree III patients had a more moderate benefit of the laser treatment.

The Interauricular Laser Rherapy of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sidorov-V-D, Mamiliaeva-D-R, Gontar-E-V, Reformatskaia-SIu.
Vopr-Kurortol-Fizioter-Lech-Fiz-Kult. 1999; (3): 35-43.

Investigations have proved the ability of interauricular low- intensity infrared laser therapy (0.89 nm, 7.6 J/cm) to produce anti- inflammatory, immunomodulating action in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The method has selective, pathogenetically directed immunomodulating effect the mechanism of which is similar to that of basic antirheumatic drugs and of intravenous laser radiation of blood. This laser therapy can be used as an alternative to intravenous blood radiation being superior as a noninvasive method. Interauricular laser therapy can potentiate the effects of nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs, cytostatics and diminish their side effects.

Clinical Application of GaAIAs 830nm Diode Laser in Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthitis

Kanji Asada, Yasutaka Yutani, Akira Sakawa and Akira Shimazu. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Osaka City UniversityMedical School, Japan

The authors have been involved in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in particular chronic poly-arthritis and the associated pain complaints. The biggest problem facing such patients is joint contracture, leading to bony ankylosis. This in turn severely restricts the range of motion (ROM) of the RA-affected joints, thereby seriously restricting the patient's quality of life (QOL). The authors have determined that in these cases, daily rehabilitation practice is necessary to maintain the patient's QOL at a reasonable level. The greatest problem in the rehabilitation practice is the severe pain associated with RA-affected joints, which inhibits restoration of mobility and improved ROM. LLLT or low reactive level laser therapy has been recognized in the literature as having been effective in pain removal and attenuation. The authors accordingly designed a clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of LLLT in RA related pain (subjective self-assessment) and ROM improvement (objective documented data). From July 1988 to June 1990, 170 patients with a total of 411 affected joints were treated using a GaAlAs diode laser system (830 nm, 60 mW C/W). Patients mean age was 61 years, with a ratio of males: females of 1: 5.25 (16%: 84%). Effectiveness was graded under three categories: excellent (remarkable improvement), good (clearly apparent improvement), and unchanged (little or no improvement). For pain attenuation, scores were: excellent&emdash;59.6%; good&emdash;30.4%; unchanged&emdash;10%. For ROM improvement the scores were: excellent&emdash;12.6%; good&emdash;43.7%; unchanged&emdash;43.7%. This gave a total effective rating for pain attenuation of 90%, and for ROM improvement of 56.3%.

Laser Therapy of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Goldman JA, Chiapella J, Casey H, Bass N, Graham J, McClatcheyW, Dronavalli RV, Brown R, Bennett WJ, Miller SB, Wilson CH, Pearson B, Haun C, Persinski L, Huey H, Muckerheidem

Thirty people with classical or definite rheumatoid arthritis received laser exposure to a Q-switch neodymium laser that operated at 1.06 micrometer with an output of 15 joules/cm2 for 30 nsec. One hand was lased at the proximalinterphalangeal (PIP) and metacarpal phalangeal (MCP) joints, whereas the other hand was sham lased. The patient, physician, and occupational therapy evaluators did not know which hand was being lased. Twenty-one patientsnoted improvement of both their MCP and PIP joints of both hands during laser therapy. Twenty-seven noted improvement of their PIP joints and 26 noted improvement of the MCP joints during therapy. Heat, erythema, pain, swelling, and tenderness all improved with time in both hands, but the lased hand had more significant improvement in erythema and pain. There was also significant improvement in grasp and tip pressure on the lased side. The level of circulating immune complexes as measured by platelet aggregation decreased during lasing. The improvement may be related to laser exposure. The exact role that laser radiation has upon rheumatoid arthritis and its mechanism of action remain

Laser Therapy in Rheumatology

Judit OrtutayM.D., Klara Barabas M.D., Ph.D., *Adam Mester MD National Institute of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy, Budapest *Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Diagnostic Radiology and Oncotherapy, National Laser Therapy Centre, Peterfy Sandor Teaching Hospital, Budapest

Barabas irradiated first the joints of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients without skin ulcer. In the first open study objectively the range of motion and circumference of the treated joints were measured, Ritchie index as semiobjective parameter, subjective parameters as joint tenderness and pain on a visual analogous scale (VAS) were registered. The walking time was registered as a functional disability parameter. Laboratory activity parameters and the 99mTechnetium index was measured. The second part of the clinical study was double blinded, Infra Red (10mWand 100 mW) lasers were used versus dummy devices with the same outlook. The third part of the study were in vitro experiments. Synovial membranes of rheumatoid arthritis patients The DNA/RNA ratio of the RA group was compared to the control group. Significant differenc e was detected between the two groups. The fourth phase of clinical studies was to detect the effects of laser irradiation in other rheumatic diseases: psoriatic arthritis, sacroileitis, osteoarthritis, entesopathy, tenosynovitis, bursitis calcarea, fibromyalgia, localised muscle spasm, periarthritis humeroscapularis etc. The different wavelengths (604, 630, 660, 670, 690, 750, 780, 790, 820, 830, 904, 1053, 1219 nm,) were compared (30 - 100 mW) with other physiotherapy modalities, like ultrasound. Acknowledgement: The Central Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and LASOTRONIC AG (Switzerland) was helping the research.

Low level laser therapy (classes I, II and III) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Brosseau L, Welch V, Wells G, deBie R, Gam A, Harman K, Morin M, Shea B, Tugwell P. School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H-8M5.

BACKGROUND: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects a large proportion of the population. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) was introduced as an alternative non-invasive treatment for RA about 10 years ago. LLLT is a light source that generates extremely pure light, of a single wavelength. The effect is not thermal, but rather related to photochemical reactions in the cells. The effectiveness of LLLT for rheumatoid arthritis is still controversial.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of LLLT in the treatment of RA.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, the registries of the Cochrane Musculoskeletal group and the field of Rehabilitation and Related Therapies as well as the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register up to January 30, 2000.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Following an a priori protocol, we selected only randomized controlled trials of LLLT for the treatment of patients with a clinical diagnosis of RA were eligible. Abstracts were excluded unless further data could be obtained from the authors.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently select trials for inclusion, then extracted data and assessed quality using predetermined forms. Heterogeneity was tested with Cochran's Q test. A fixed effects model was used throughout for continuous variables, except where heterogeneity existed, in which case, a random effects model was used. Results were analyzed as weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI), where the difference between the treated and control groups was weighted by the inverse of the variance. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated by dividing the difference between treated and control by the baseline variance. SMD were used when different scales were used to measure the same concept (e.g. pain). Dichotomous outcomes were analyzed with odds ratios.

RESULTS: A total of 204 patients were included in the five placebo-controlled trials, with 112 randomized to laser therapy. Relative to a separate control group, LLLT reduced pain by 70% relative to placebo and reduced morning stiffness duration by 27.5 minutes (95%CI: 2.9 to 52 minutes) and increased tip to palm flexibility by 1.3 cm (95% CI: 0. 8 to 1.7 cm). Other outcomes such as functional assessment, range of motion and local swelling did not differ between groups. There were no significant differences between subgroups based on LLLT dosage, wavelength, site of application or treatment length. For RA, relative to a control group using the opposite hand, there was no difference between the control and treatment hand, but all hands improved in terms of pain relief and disease activity.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: In summary, LLLT for RA is beneficial as a minimum of a four-week treatment with reductions in pain and morning stiffness. On the one hand, this meta-analysis found that pooled data gave some evidence of a clinical effect, but the outcomes were in conflict, and it must therefore be concluded that firm documentation of the application of LLLT in RA is not possible. Clinicians and researchers should consistently report the characteristics of the LLLT device and the application techniques used. New trials on LLLT should make use of standardized, validated outcomes. Despite some positive findings, this meta-analysis lacked data on how LLLT effectiveness is affected by four important factors: wavelength, treatment duration of LLLT, dosage and site of application over nerves instead of joints.

Low level laser therapy is ineffective in the management of rheumatoid arthritic finger joints

Hall J, Clarke AK, Elvins DM, Ring EF. Rehabilitation Laboratory, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath.

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is a relatively new and increasingly popular form of electrotherapy. It is used by physiotherapists in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions including RA despite the lack of scientific evidence to support its efficacy. A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of LLLT. The patient sample consisted of chronic RA patients with active finger joint synovitis. Forty RA patients with involvement of some or all of MCP or PIP joints were recruited. Following random allocation they received either active or placebo laser three times a week for 4 weeks. Measurements were taken prior to entry, after the treatment, 1 month and 3 months at follow-up. The groups were well matched in terms of age, sex, disease duration and severity. Few significant differences were noted in grip strength, duration of morning stiffness, joint tenderness, temperature of inflamed joints, range of movement or pain either within or between groups. Using these irradiation parameters the efficacy of LLLT is ineffective.

The Effectiveness of Laser Therapy in Complest Therapy of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

O.M. Korolkova, V.T. Burlachuk, O.V. Gordienko, E.A. Afanasevskaya Voronezh State Medical Academy, Voronezh Regional Hospital, Voronezh, Russia

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of laser therapy among patients with different extents of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease. There has been a study of 115 patients with RA activity II-III (the main group) who apart from the basic therapy also received laser treatment.

The apparatus ALT "Mustang" with the power of 2-10 W and infrared wave range has been used. The laser influence has been aimed at the area of a damaged joint. The duration of laser influence is from 5 to 17 minutes, adding 1-2 minutes daily. The number of fields is 10, the number of treatment procedures -8-10, The control group consists of 20 patients with RA (basic therapy only).

The control of effectiveness of the therapy was based on the complex laboratory data, including definition of non-specific factors of inflammation and the factors of activity of lipid peroxidation.

The greatest effect of the therapy has been achieved in the main group of patients with activity II. In comparison with the control group we managed to receive improve-ment 8- 10 days earlier which allowed us to reduce the demand of steroids and in case of 20 patients even cancel taking them. We received statistically reliable fall of the activity of inflammation and lipid peroxidation. More moderate effect of the therapy was reached treating patients from the main group with activity III.

The Use of Supravascular Blood Radiation with Infrared Laser for Treatment of Secondary Vasculities in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Y.L. Grinstein, S.V. Ivlev Medical Academy. Krasnoyarsk, Russia

The purpose of this work was to study the opportunity of the use of supravascular blood radiation with infrared laser (IR-laser) for the treatment of secondary vasculitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The investigation included 12 patients with RA and secondary vasculitis signs. They received a course of supravascular blood radiation with IR-Iaser (wavelength 820-850 nm, 7-10 procedures). Control group consisted of 8 patients. Placebo laser therapy (LT) was administered to 7 patients. Such characteristics as hemostasis properties, a state of microcirculation in bulbar conjunctiva vessels were studied in all patients before and after treatment. It was revealed significant decrease of both XIIa-depended fibrinolysis and Willibrand's factor level. The improvement of blood rheological properties was confirmed by a decrease of erythrocyte aggregation and improvement of its deformability. Bulbar conjunctival microscopia revealed significant diminution of intravascular change index, significant increase of arteriola-venula ratio. The improvement of nephritis manifestations (significant decrease of proteinuria level). The changes of hemostasis parameters microcirculation system were not significant in patients receiving both placebo LT and conventional therapy. Conclusions: 1) It was revealed significant diminution of endothelium lesion and XIla-depended fibrinolysis restoration after IR-laser therapy in patients with RA and secondary vasculitis. 2) Both microcirculation state in bulbar conjunctiva vessels and blood rheological properties significantly improve after IR-laser therapy. It is confirmed by a significant improvement of erythrocyte deformability and a decrease of its aggregation. 3) IR-laser therapy leads to urinary syndrome regression.


A.V. Nikitin, V.D. Khvan, E.F. Yevstratova Medical Academy, Voronezh, Russia

The results of the examination of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have shown the systemic lesion of all the links of the immune system. Many-sided positive in-fluence of low energy laser irradiation on the impairment of immune homeostasis has been shown. The aim of the investigation was to study the possibility of the low energy laser irradiation use in patients with RA depending on some immunity indices and the disease course prognosis. 60 patients with RA at the age of more than 16 years old hav-ing inflammatory process activity of the I-II degrees according to the RA criteria of the American Rheumatological Association classification have been examined. 30 patients of the control group underwent the conventional treatment with non-steroid antiinflammatory drugs, basic treatment with delagil and physiotherapy. 30 patients of the main group underwent the conventional treatment and laser therapy on the joints by the infra-red laser installation "UZOR" with the wavelength of 0,89 um, the output power of 2 mW in combination with the above-vein blood irradiation by the helium-neon laser installation "ALOK-1" with the output power of 0,6 mW. The treatment was carried out daily during 15 days. The immunity indices analysis before and after the treatment in both groups has established their obvious improvement in patients treated by laser irradiation: T-lympocytes (CD3 (p < 0.05), immunoglobulins ? (p < 0.05), T-helpers inductors (CD4+) (p < 0.05). The positive dynamics of the immunity indices in the studied group cor-related with the clinical improvement of the patients condition and depended on the marked immunity indices changes before the treatment, such as T-lymphocytes (CD3), Thelpers inductors (CD4+), immunoglobulins C. The marked positive dynamics of the abo-vementioned indices were not observed in the control group.


I.E. Korochina State Medical Academy, Orenburg Russia

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains a crucial challenge in rheumatology, as no cure of it is in sight. RA is one of the most common inflammatory diseases affecting young and middle-age people. Its progress is unrelenting and leading to early disability of young individuals (at 5-6 years following the onset). Therefore, it is a pressing problem to find a new therapeutic approach, especially a basic intervention.

Matveikin et al. (1989) argued that all available therapeutic modalities relying on stabilization of inflammation fail to stop progressive destructive cartilage and bone abnormalities whose severity largely determines the outcome of structural and functional damage of joints. Moreover, extensively employed glucocorticoids, cytostatics and even nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs have been reported to have osteolytic and calciuretic effects which can promote joint surface destruction in RA (Agababov et al., 1989). Therefore, "classical" methods do not influence local and systemic osteoporosis which occurs in respectively 22-28 to 72 percent of patients with RA (Korshunov et al., 1995; Skripnikov et al., 1997). On the other hand, there is evidence to suggest that severity of osteoporosis (OP) does not provide a measure of severity of the primary disease. Certainty on this issue has important implications for prognosis and therapy of RA.

Numerous indepth studies indicate the need for osteoprotective treatment in the presence of RA (Nasonova, 1983; Nasonova and Sigidin, 1985; Revel, 1993; Nasonov, 1994; Franke adn Runge, 1995; Nasonov et al., 1997; Deuchaisnes et al., 1973; West et al., 1994).

Therefore, it is very important from both research and practical perspective to adopt therapeutic regimens which would have immunocorrective effects on the one hand and would improve bone resistance to destructive action of pannus and slow down bone mass loss on the other, with minimum side effects.

This line of research is pursued everywhere in the world. Over the recent years, inclusion of antiosteoporotic drugs as a basic therapy of RA or its component has proved fairly effective (Bolotina, 1997; Doroshenko and Korochina, 1996, 1997; Zonova et al., 1997; Mazurov et al., 1997; Gavrilovski, 1996; Jezicrinska et al., 1996; Szombati et al., 1996). Based on reported and our own clinical experience, we have proposed in 1997 a scheme for osteoprotective therapy individualization.

However, confronted by side effects of drugs, numerous contraindications and individual intolerance, we came to magnetic-infrared laser (MIL) therapy.

Since RA is an immune-inflammatory disease, various laser treatments are usually aimed at correction of immune and inflammatory abnormalities (Gracheva and Satinaeva, 1988; Yarema, 1989; Klushin, 1990; Babynina and Volobuyeva, 1988; Ferrel et al., 1996). Surgical laser interventions, intravenous and transcutaneous manipulations have been used (Dzyak and Simonova, 1988; Plotguin et al., 1996; Grazhane et al., 1989; Skobelkin et al,, 1990; Basford, 1993).

Laser therapy has been used in children and old patients with RA (Keltsev et al., 1988; Sinepesov et al., 1989). Results of these uses of the laser have been doubtless good.

Since studies used lasers with different characteristics, available evidence is heterogeneous and difficult to compare.

RA response to MIL therapy has been reported (Velitchenko, 1995; Demidov et al., 1995). However, apart from the task of quenching the activity and severity of RA, we are confronted by the problem of improving "internal" bone resistance to rheumatoid aggression to save joints in RA.

Studies reporting the efficacy of laser, magnetic and ultraviolet therapy in osteoporisis are few (Mitbreit et al., 1978; Zatsepin et al., 1984; Anishchenko and Yevtifeeva, 1988; Laing et al., 1995). In addition, these interventions have been reported to hasten fracture consolidation (Polonsky et al., 1979; Shakhov, 1995), suggesting an antiosteoporotic effect of the MILTA device.

Our study sought to elucidate whether MIL therapy has an osteoprotective effect apart from immunostabilizing, antiinflammatory and analgesic actions.

To evaluate the possibility of impeding destruction of osseous structure s of joints in RA, were used combined treatment regimens. RA patients of all groups received nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAID), but no other basic drugs.

Group 1 patients were on NSAID and the antiosteoporotic plant-derived drug osteochin (Sanofi, France) which was earlier used in systemic OP.

In group 2, NSAID-osteochin (OC) combination was adjuncted by conventional regimens of MIL therapy (Soroka, 1988; Korepanov, 1995).

Group 3 patients received NSAID and MIL therapy, with antiosteoporotic drugs withheld because of intolerance or contraindications.


Magnetic-infrared laser therapy of rheumatoid arthritis is effective and pathogenetically relevant.

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