Neglect of relevant treatment recommendations in the conduct and reporting of a laser therapy knee osteoarthritis trial: letter to the editor
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2021, 22, 71. 10.1186/s12891-020-03902-1
We read with interest the article by Gomes et al. entitled: “Exercise program combined with electrophysical modalities in subjects with knee osteoarthritis: A randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial”. Gomes et al. concluded that the low-level laser therapy (LLLT) did not reduce knee osteoarthritis pain when applied as an adjunct to exercise therapy. We argue that Gomes et al. neglected relevant laser treatment recommendations in the conduct and reporting of the trial. Gomes et al. did not state the Joules per treatment spot applied. We calculated the Joules applied from other laser information in the report and found that it is too low of a dose according to the World Association for Laser Therapy (WALT) guidelines. Furthermore, we have published a meta-analysis of 22 placebo-controlled trials demonstrating a significant difference in pain-relieving effect between doses in adherence and non-adherence to the WALT guidelines. However, neither the WALT guidelines, nor our meta-analysis was mentioned by Gomes et al. Moreover, Gomes et al. did not state whether the output power of the laser device was measured, and this is concerning because in the city of São Paulo, where the trial was conducted, most laser devices have been found to deliver less of a dose than specified by the manufacturers. In summary, we found that the best available evidence regarding effective and ineffective LLLT dosing from systematic reviews was neglected in the conduct and reporting of the trial, and that the laser device may not have been calibrated.