Traumeel S to treat pain following bunion surgery

Researchers from Israel studied the effectiveness of this frequently prescribed over-the-counter homeopathic product composed of extracts from a combination of plants and minerals.

It is widely sold in German, Switzerland and Austria.

First, the details.

  • 80 patients scheduled for ambulatory hallus valgus (bunion) surgery were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Traumeel S: 2 tablets 5 times daily for the first 3 days, and 3 times daily afterwards
    • Placebo: Taken following the same dosing regimen as the Traumeel S
  • All patients took tablets of paracetamol (acetaminophen) 325 mg + codeine 15 mg 2 tablets up to 6 times daily as their main pain medicine. They additionally received a prescription for tramadol (Ultram) 100 mg tablets as “rescue” pain medicine to take as needed, up to 4 tablets a day.
  • Changes in maximum daily pain at rest were measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) that was filled out on the day of surgery and for 13 days thereafter.
  • In addition, the use of pain medicine, including the number of days where analgesics were needed was recorded.
  • Side effects were monitored throughout the study.
  • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

And, the results.

  • There was no difference in pain or the consumption of pain medicine between the Traumeel S and placebo groups over the 14 days of the study.
  • There was a significant but transient reduction in the daily maximum post-operative pain score favoring Traumeel S on the day of surgery.

The bottom line?

Regarding the significant finding, the authors questioned whether “a transient reduction in the daily maximum post-operative pain score on the day of surgery is of questionable clinical importance.”

The results here fail to support an earlier study where a single injection of Traumeel vs Traumeel injection + oral treatment vs a control group following ambulatory surgery.

The authors tell us, “Homeopathy is frequently attacked for its use of solutions diluted beyond Avogadro’s number, and hence physical-chemical implausibility. That criticism was circumvented in this trial by employing a preparation of solutions that were dilute, but well within the material range.”

4/19/10 13:54 JR

Hi, I’m JR

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