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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  • Recent Comments

    Two herbals compare favorably to Vioxx to treat low back pain

    Merck, the pharmaceutical company, announced a voluntary worldwide withdrawal of Vioxx (rofecoxib) in 2004. It was effective for relieving signs and symptoms of arthritis, acute pain in adults, and painful menstrual cycles. But the risk of heart attack or stroke related to Vioxx was high enough to cause Merck to stop selling the drug.

    Now, a review of the literature suggests that Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s claw) and Salix alba (White willow bark) are as effective.

    Devil’s claw

    • Two high-quality trials reported strong evidence for short-term improvements in pain and rescue medication for daily doses standardized to 50 mg or 100 mg.
    • Another high-quality trial demonstrated relative equivalence to Vioxx 12.5 mg per day.

    White willow bark

    • Two moderate-quality trials found moderate evidence for short-term improvements in pain and rescue medication for daily doses standardized to 120 mg or 240 mg salicin.
    • Another trial demonstrated relative equivalence to Vioxx 12.5 mg per day of.

    The bottom line?
    Many herbal medicines have been used for nonspecific low back pain. Two herbals — oral H procumbens and oral S alba — have been shown to be equivalent to the former prescription drug called Vioxx.

    Usually, before buying any herbal, I would advise checking out ConsumerLab.com to find a brand that actually contains what is written on the label. Unfortunately, these herbals have not been reviewed there.

    1/16/07 19:39 JR

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