Research: MILLS and colleagues, Cen

Listed in Issue 19


MILLS and colleagues, Centre for Complementary Health Studies, University of Exeter, UK conducted a double-blind study to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of a licensed herbal medicine for the relief of chronic arthritic pain.



82 people with chronic pain from arthritis were randomly assigned, without cross-over, to 2 months' treatment either with Reumalex, a licensed over-the-counter (OTC) herbal medicine or a placebo. Characteristics at entry were determined by a previous survey of customers with arthritis who shopped at pharmacies and healthfood stores. The AIMS2 questionnaire was for 2 months prior to the trial and monthly throughout; a modified Ritchie Index provided clinical scores. The people also kept a diary of their use of self-prescribed pain-relief medication and events they considered significant.


A small, but statistically significant improvement occurred regarding pain symptoms, less so with osteoarthritis patients. There were no other significant changes in any other measures nor in the use of other self-prescribed analgesics. Few side-effects were noted.


Reumalex has a mild analgesic effect in chronic arthritis at a level appropriate to self-medication.


Mills SY et al. Effect of a proprietary herbal medicine on the relief of chronic arthritic pain: a double-blind study. Br J Rheumatol 35(9): 874-8. Sep 1996.

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