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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Anesthesiology and Pain Management - Neurological Disorders - Physiology - Public Health and Epidemiology

Efficacy of Injections with Disci/Rhus Toxicodendron Compositum for Chronic Low Back Pain – A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Author: Daniel Pach et al.

by Daniel Pach, Benno Brinkhaus, Stephanie Roll, Karl Wegscheider, Katja Icke, Stefan N. Willich, Claudia M. Witt

Background

The effectiveness of injection therapy for low-back pain is still debatable. We compared the efficacy of local injections of the homeopathic preparation Disci/Rhus toxicodendron compositum (verum) with placebo injections and with no treatment in patients with chronic low back pain.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In a randomized controlled partly double blind multicenter trial patients with chronic low back pain from 9 German outpatient clinics were enrolled and randomly allocated in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive subcutaneous injections (verum or placebo) into painful sites on the lower back over 12 treatment sessions within eight weeks, or no treatment (rescue pain medication with paracetamol or NSAIDs). All trial personnel and participants were masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome measure was the average pain intensity over the last seven days on a visual analogue scale (0–100 mm, 0?=?no pain, 100?=?worst imaginable pain) after eight weeks. Follow-up was 26 weeks. Primary analysis was by intention to treat. Between August 2007 and June 2008, 150 patients were randomly allocated to three groups (51 verum, 48 placebo and 51 no treatment). The mean baseline-adjusted low back pain intensity at week eight was: verum group 37.0 mm (97.5% CI 25.3;48.8), no treatment group 53.0 (41.8;64.2), and placebo group 41.8 (30.1;53.6). The verum was significantly superior to no treatment (P?=?0.001), but not to placebo (P?=?0.350). No significant side effects were reported.

Conclusions/Significance

The homeopathic preparation was not superior to placebo. Compared to no treatment injections resulted in significant and clinical relevant chronic back pain relief.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00567736

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