Trial of homœopathy to treat osteoarthritis

Published 19 September 2003

Population studies suggest that between 14 and 16 per cent of Australians suffer from osteoarthritis, a disease involving joint pain, tenderness, limitation of movement, occasional swelling and varying degrees of inflammation.

Osteoarthritis is characterised by degeneration of the cartilage over the bones of the joint, but can also affect the entire joint including the bone, synovial fluid, ligaments and muscles.

Current treatment for osteoarthritis commonly involves pharmaceutical drugs, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories which can have serious gastrointestinal side-effects. A new study at Southern Cross University is about to test homœopathy as a treatment in the reduction of symptoms of arthritis of the knee or hip.

The study is being carried out through SCU's School of Natural and Complementary Medicine and the Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education and Research (ACCMER), a joint venture between the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Health Science and SCU.

“One of the aims of this trial is to improve the range of options available for this common and painful condition,” said study coordinator and postgraduate student Don Baker.

“By combining the essential features of homœopathic practice with rigorous scientific method, this research is designed to establish a benchmark for future controlled clinical studies of homœopathy,” Mr Baker said.

"A feature of homœopathic treatments is that they are inexpensive and do not have the negative side-effects of many conventional treatments."

Homœopathy is a system of medicine developed by Dr Samuel Hahnemann about 200 years ago based on the principle of Like Cures Like, and uses preparations that are administered in minute doses either as a liquid or a dry pill.

The researchers at SCU are looking for people who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, aged between 18 and 85, and who are willing to cease all other treatment for eight weeks.

The study involves an initial four-week period without treatment to establish a baseline picture, followed by four weeks of treatment involving taking a one-off dose of homœopathic pills, followed by an oral spray four times a day for a month.

Volunteers will be required to make notes of the severity of their symptoms daily, and visit a clinic at SCU’s Lismore, Tweed Gold Coast or Coffs Harbour campuses three times during the eight weeks.

Potential study volunteers should contact Don Baker in SCU’s School of Natural and Complementary Medicine at Southern Cross University, Ph: 02 6626 9288.

Media enquiries: Sara Crowe or Kath Duncan
Ph: 6620 3144, M: 0439 858 057.