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

    This blog is 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 www.Vicus.com, 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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    Homeopathic Arnica montana for post-tonsillectomy pain control

    The patients reported better pain control, but there was no difference in the use of other pain medicines.

    First, the details.

    • 111 adults completed questionnaires following tonsillectomy.
    • Patients on systemic steroids or antihistamines were excluded.
    • All patients were discharged the day following surgery.
    • All patients were sent home and took Cocodamol (codeine plus paracetamol [acetaminophen]) as required and diclofenac (Voltaren) as required.
    • In addition, the patients were randomly assigned to take arnica 30C or identical placebo on a set schedule: 2 tablets 6 times in the first post-operative day and then 2 tablets twice a day for the next 7 days.
    • A visual analog scale was used to record the level of pain.

    And the results.

    • There was no significant difference in the number of Cocodamol and diclofenac consumption between the 2 groups.
    • The arnica group had a significantly greater reduction in pain score from day 1 to day 14 compared to the placebo group (28 vs 23, respectively).
    • There were no differences between groups in the number of post-operative visits to their physician, time to return of normal swallowing, their use of antibiotics, or the incidence of hospital readmission due to secondary hemorrhage.

    The bottom line?
    The authors conclude, “Our results demonstrate that Arnica montana given after tonsillectomy provides some benefits.”

    Maybe so, but considering that arnica was taken on a fixed regimen and the other analgesics were taken as needed, wouldn’t you expect that the benefits of arnica would be accompanied by less use of the other analgesics?

    As covered in the discussion section of the article, aside from positive results following dental extractions, other studies of arnica have failed to find benefit from arnica vs placebo.

    • Pain control and swelling after wisdom teeth extractions
    • Pain and infection after total abdominal hysterectomy
    • Carpal tunnel release surgery
    • Post-operative pain, bruising, and swelling in patients undergoing elective hand surgery

    8/12/07 21:18 JR

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