Methods: Following ethics committee approval and with written informed consent, 80 patients (61 female, 19 male) were randomly allocated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study to two groups of 40 patients each. The treatment group received a compound of proteolytic, glycolytic, and lipolytic enzymes and rutoside (Wobenzym), while the control-group received placebo. Efficacy and tolerance of the study medication was examined before and after day case surgery for the carpal tunnel syndrome. Medication was given 10 tabs t.i.d. for 15 days, starting 7 days before surgery. Pain intensity (visual analogue scale), intake of analgesics, and tolerance of the study medication were recorded daily and treatment differences between the two groups were statistically evaluated.
Results: Comparison of demographic data of all enrolled patients showed no significant difference between the two groups. In the enzyme group, pain scores were lower on the day of operation and for the following 5 days but did not differ significantly from the control group; however, patients of the enzyme group took significantly less analgesics and experienced significantly earlier pain relief than those of the control group, thus demonstrating a pain-reducing effect of the enzyme compound. Only few side effects were reported in both groups, none of them serious.
Conclusion: Enzyme therapy is an effective and safe adjuvant treatment for the control of postoperative pain.