Context: The incidence of tendon injuries and tendinopathy has risen substantially in the past decades.
Objective: To assess the noninferiority of therapy based on the homeopathic preparation Traumeel S ointment (Heel GmbH, Baden-Baden, Germany) compared with treatment based on diclofenac 1% gel in patients with tendinopathies of varying etiology.
Design: Nonrandomized, observational study.
Setting: Ninety-five homeopathy and conventional medical practices in Germany.
Patients: Three hundred fifty-seven patients aged 18 to 93 years with tendinopathy of varying etiology based on excessive tendon load rather than inflammation.
Interventions: Traumeel S ointment or diclofenac 1% gel for a maximum of 28 days.
Main outcome measures: Efficacy was measured on a four-degree scale on pain-related variables, on variables related to motility, and on overall treatment outcome. Tolerability was monitored as adverse events. Compliance was assessed by practitioner and patient on a four-degree scale.
Results: The patients groups were comparable at baseline. The changes in summary score of all pain-related variables were -5.3 +/- 2.7 (all values means +/- SD) in the Traumeel group and -5.0 +/- 2.7 in the control group. Changes for all motility-related variables were -4.2 +/- 3.8 with Traumeel and -3.7 +/- 3.4 with control therapy. The summary scores for all clinical variables were reduced by -9.5 +/- 5.7 with Traumeel therapy and by -8.7 +/- 5.4 with diclofenac-based treatment. Homeopathic therapy was noninferior to diclofenac therapy on all variables. For motility-related variables, there was a trend toward superiority of Traumeel. Treatments were well tolerated with no treatment-related adverse events.
Conclusions: The results suggest that Traumeel ointment is an effective alternative to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs therapy for the acute symptomatic treatment of patients with tendinopathy.