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A poor quality scientifically pointless Traumeel survey

PainSci » bibliography » Metelmann et al 1992
Tags: homeopathy, controversy, inflammation, debunkery, pain problems

One article on PainSci cites Metelmann 1992: Does Arnica Gel Work for Pain?

PainSci commentary on Metelmann 1992: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

This is an ancient, poor quality, scientifically pointless survey, which is one of the lowest forms of evidence even when done properly. It was published in 1992 in a “journal” owned by the manufacturer of Traumeel (Heel), but is being cited on their website 20 years later to support one of the world’s best-selling products. The “risk of bias” here is off the charts, and it has too many serious flaws to count. However, a particularly glaring problem is that almost half of the cases involved other medications, which muddies the waters too much for the results to mean anything, and that alone would be render the results largely meaningless. Another major flaw is that those ratings were supplied by physicians … not patients rating their own results. Not only is this paper unpersuasive, it is actually a fine example of how not to do science.

This is one of ten studies cited on to substantiate that Traumeel has therapeutic effects. See Does Arnica Gel Work for Pain? for a full discussion of these references as a set.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

A drug monitoring trial conducted on 3,241 documented cases of therapy investigated the effectiveness, the patient tolerance, and the mode of application of a homeopathic ampule preparation (Traumeel S injection solution). The study determined that arthrosis — especially cases of gonarthrosis and coxarthrosis — was the chief area of application for the homeopathic medication under examination. Within this area of indication, the study included detailed analyses of the mode and frequency of application of the preparation. In addition, patients suffering from myogelosis, sprains, periarthropathia humeroscapularis, epicondylitis, and tendovaginitis were also frequently among those treated with Traumeel S injection solution. Of all the patients, 47.0% received adjuvant medicamentous therapy, and 65% obtained nonmedicamentous therapy which included massage, applications of heat and cold, and electrotherapy. In 78.6% of the treated cases, the results of therapy were formally assessed as “very good” or “good.” The patients’ tolerance to the preparation was good.

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: