The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Arnica vs ibuprofen gel for arthritis pain

    Rubbing on arnica provides pain relief in people with osteoarthritis that affects their hands.

    First the details.

    • 204 patients were recruited from 20 clinics.
    • Randomly assigned to ibuprofen gel (Optifen Gel) or arnica gel (A. Vogel Arnica Gel).
    • They gently rubbed in a 4 cm (1.5 inch) strip over the affected joints 3 times a day for 3 weeks.

    And the results.

    • Pain intensity and hand function improved in both treatment groups.
    • 24% reduction in pain with ibuprofen
    • 27% reduction with arnica
    • Grip strength, ability to use tools, and tie a knot improved similarly in both groups.
    • 6% of the ibuprofen group and 5% of the arnica group report treatment-related adverse events.

    In an article in, Dr. Melzer of the University of Zurich in Switzerland noted that earlier studies where arnica gel was used topically were also positive.

    Also, “The improvements seen in our study were clinically relevant. This topical application of arnica gel can be regarded as a viable alternative to ibuprofen gel when treating osteoarthritis of the hand joints.”

    5/6/07 20:09 JR

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