Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of Homeopathic Arnica in reducing the morbidity following tonsillectomy.
Methods: Randomised double blind, placebo controlled trial at a tertiary referral centre. 190 patients over the age of 18 undergoing tonsillectomy were randomised into intervention and control groups receiving either Arnica 30c or identical placebo, 2 tablets 6 times in the first post-operative day and then 2 tablets twice a day for the next 7 days. The primary outcome measure was the change in pain scores (visual analogue scale) recorded by the patient on a questionnaire over 14 days post-operatively; Secondary outcome measures were: analgesia consumption, visits to the GP or hospital, antibiotic usage, the day on which their swallowing returned to normal and the day on which they returned to work.
Results: 111 (58.4%) completed questionnaires were available for analysis. The Arnica group had a significantly larger drop in pain score from day 1 to day 14 (28.3) compared to the placebo group (23.8) with p < 0.05. The two groups did not differ significantly on analgesic consumption or any of the other secondary outcome measures (number of post-operative visits to GP, use of antibiotics and secondary haemorrhage readmissions).
Conclusion: The results of this trial suggest that Arnica montana given after tonsillectomy provides a small, but statistically significant, decrease in pain scores compared to placebo.