Landmark trial in the treatment of osteoarthritis

Published 12 July 2004

Southern Cross University (SCU), with The University of Queensland (UQ) has launched a landmark trial to find an inexpensive, safe, and effective treatment for one of Australia’s most common diseases – osteoarthritis.

The trial will look at the effects of homeopathic treatment of osteoarthritis. SCU and UQ are calling for 50 more participants from the region to complete the osteoarthritis trial.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and can cause crippling pain in hands, knees, hips, or any other joint of the body. It is estimated that 14 – 16 percent of people in the Northern Rivers and Tweed area suffer from the condition, including many young people. In the over-20’s age group, it is more common than heart disease and diabetes.

Don Baker, PhD Student and Research Coordinator, said the results of the study could lead to a new natural medicine approach to the treatment of osteoarthritis.

“Sufferers of osteoarthritis are desperately looking for effective treatments to reduce their pain and other symptoms,” said Mr Baker. “This trial will help to establish whether there is scientific evidence to show homeopathy can provide safe and effective relief from their symptoms.”

A feature of homoeopathic treatment is that it is inexpensive and does not appear to have the possible negative side-effects of many conventional treatments, such as gastric bleeding, nausea, and liver and kidney dysfunction.

Dominic Cechini, 78 of Ballina, says he became a participant in the trial in the hope he would be able to help in the development of an effective treatment not just for him but for other sufferers.

“I can’t take anti-flammatories because I get stomach bleeding, so I got involved because I’m searching for an effective treatment for myself and others that won’t have the negative side effects,” said Mr Cechini.

Over 60 percent of Australians now use some form of alternative therapies and we are now spending about twice as much on alternatives than on orthodox medicines.

The Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine (ACCMER) a unique joint venture between the UQ and SCU is involved in a range of scientific research into the effectiveness of some of the complementary therapies.

Researchers are looking for people who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, aged between 18 and 85, who are otherwise healthy, and are willing to cease all other arthritis treatment for eight weeks.

The study will involve an initial four-week period without treatment, followed by four weeks of treatment involving taking a one-off dose of homoeopathic pills, followed by an oral spray three times a day for a month. Volunteers would attend a clinic as SCU’s Lismore or Gold Coast Campus on 3 occasions.

Potential study volunteers should contact Don Baker in SCU’s School of Natural and Complementary Medicine at Southern Cross University, on 1300 78 55 89.

For media enquiries
Kasturi Shanahan, Media Liaison, SCU – 0439 858 057
Don Baker, PhD Student and Research Coordinator & Professor Stephen P Myers, Director of the Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine, Education and Research, (ACCMER) are available for comment.