homeopathy for addictions scienceRead More
Ottawa has approved 8,500 homeopathic products, including remedy made from rabid dog saliva
Bethany Lindsay · CBC News · Posted: Apr 18, 2018 4:00 AM PT | Last Updated: April 18
More than 8,500 homeopathic treatments are approved by Health Canada. (Josh Reynolds/Associated Press)
The long list of so-called homeopathic nosodes approved by Health Canada include remedies made from the bacteria that causes chlamydia, the cerebral fluid of meningitis patients and cancer cells — to name just a few.
After B.C.'s senior physician questioned the federal approval of one of these remedies, a substance developed from the saliva of a rabid dog, Health Canada will only say that it takes the safety of health products "very seriously."
- B.C. health official voices 'grave concerns' after child given homeopathic remedy using rabid-dog saliva
A Health Canada spokesperson said no one was available Tuesday for an interview about the remedy used by a Victoria naturopath to treat a small boy's behaviour problems, but offered a written statement instead.
"Homeopathic products ... are regulated as natural health products (NHPs) under the Natural Health Products Regulations," the statement reads.
"Health Canada takes the safety of health products on the Canadian market very seriously. Should a product not meet the requirements set out in the associated product monograph and guidance, Health Canada will take action."
The homeopathic remedy, which is marketed as lyssinum, lyssin or hydrophobinum, is one of more than 8,500 homeopathic products regulated by the federal government.
Nurit Ben-Zvi, R.N.2 Laurence S. Freedman, Ph.D.3 David Branski, M.D.4
1 The Institute of Research on Complementary Medicine, The Center of Integrated Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusa- lem, Israel.
2 Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, The Schnei- der Children’s Medical Center of Israel, Rabin Med- ical Center, Petach Tikva, Sackler School of Med- icine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.
3 Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Sciences, Bar-Ilan University. Ramat- Gan, Israel.
4 Department of Pediatrics, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusa- lem, Israel.
Supported by a grant from the International Society of Homotoxicology, Baden-Baden, Germany.
The authors are grateful to Dr. Yoram Neumann from the Department of Pediatric Hematology On- cology at The Chaim Sheba Medical Center (Tel- Aviv, Israel) for his help in the planning and design of the first version of the study protocol. They also thank Nitzan Teva, R.N., for her initiative and enthusiastic work at the beginning of the study. Finally, the authors thank the nurses of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit at The Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel for their support and patience during this study.
Address for reprints: Menachem Oberbaum, M.D., The Institute of Research on Complementary Med- icine, The Center of Integrated Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, P.O. Box 3235, Jerusalem 91031, Israel; Fax: 972-2- 6666975; E-mail: email@example.com
Received December 21, 2000; revision received March 27, 2001; accepted April 9, 2001.
BACKGROUND. Stomatitis is a common consequence of chemotherapy and a con- dition for which there is little effective treatment. Although the management of patients with other chemotherapy-related toxicities has improved in recent years, the incidence of stomatitis is increasing because of more intensive treatment and is often a dose limiting factor in chemotherapy. The authors assessed the efficacy of a homeopathic remedy, TRAUMEEL, in the management of chemotherapy- induced stomatitis in children undergoing bone marrow transplantation. METHODS. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial was con- ducted in 32 patients ages 3–25 years who had undergone allogeneic (16 patients) or autologous (16 patients) stem cell transplantation. Of the 30 evaluable patients, 15 were assigned placebo, and 15 were assigned TRAUMEEL S both as a mouth rinse, administered five times daily from 2 days after transplantation for a mini- mum of 14 days, or until at least 2 days after all signs of stomatitis were absent. Stomatitis scores were evaluated according to the World Health Organization grading system for mucositis.
RESULTS. A total of five patients (33%) in the TRAUMEEL S treatment group did not develop stomatitis compared with only one patient (7%) in the placebo group. Stomatitis worsened in only 7 patients (47%) in the TRAUMEEL S treatment group compared with 14 patients (93%) in the placebo group. The mean area under the curve stomatitis scores were 10.4 in the TRAUMEEL S treatment group and 24.3 in the placebo group. This difference was statistically significant (P0.01). CONCLUSIONS. This study indicates that TRAUMEEL S may reduce significantly the severity and duration of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis in children undergoing bone marrow transplantation. Cancer 2001;92:684–90.
© 2001 American Cancer Society.
KEYWORDS: TRAUMEEL, stomatitis, mucositis, autologous, allogeneic, stem cell transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, randomized, placebo-controlled, ho- meopathy, complementary medicine.
Stomatitis occurs commonly as part of general inflammatory dam- age to the mucous membranes in patients receiving chemother- apy or radiation therapy to the oropharyngeal region. The overall incidence of reactive stomatitis is about 40%.1,2 However, it is partic- ularly common in patients receiving 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) treat- ment1–4 and is even more common in those undergoing radiation therapy for malignancies of the head and neck, in which approxi- mately 80% of patients are affected.2 In patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation (BMT), the incidence of stomatitis reaches 95%.1
The mechanism of development of stomatitis is primarily cytotoxic,1,5
© 2001 American Cancer Society
although neutropenia,1,6 periodontal pathology,1,7 poor oral hygiene,1,8 poor nutritional status,1 and infections also contribute to the condition. Morphologic character- istics can vary from slight erythema and edema of the oral mucosa to severe, focal, or widespread ulceration, bleeding and exudation.1,5 In addition to pain and dis- comfort, loss of the mechanical barrier together with the large surface of necrotic mucosa and neutropenia can lead to secondary local infections, sepsis, and even life- threatening systemic infections.1,6,9,10 Severe cases of stomatitis often necessitate the interruption of chemo- therapy treatment or dose reduction and may affect pa- tient compliance with further treatment.1 Compared with other chemotherapy-related toxicities, such as my- elosuppression, the incidence of mucositis and the sig- nificance of its toxicity is increasing. Consequently, oral mucositis is becoming the most common dose-limiting toxicity of chemotherapy.1,2
The current treatment of patients with stomatitis is essentially symptomatic. This includes stringent oral hygiene, avoiding irritating and abrasive foods, good oral and dental care, and the use of bland rinses, topical anesthetics, and systemic analgesics.11 Such treatments, however, are of limited value and have shown improvement only in patients with mild to moderate stomatitis.1,2,12
TRAUMEEL is a homeopathic-complex remedy that has been sold over the counter in pharmacies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for over 50 years. It contains extracts from the following plants and min- erals, all of them highly diluted (10��1–10��9 of the stem solution): Arnica montana, Calendula officinalis, Achillea millefolium, Matricaria chamomilla, Symphy- tum officinale, Atropa belladonna, Aconitum napellus, Bellis perennis, Hypericum perforatum, chinacea an- gustifolia, Echinacea purpurea, Hamamelis virginica, Mercurius solubilis, and Hepar sulfuris. Information from the manufacturer indicates that TRAUMEEL S is used normally to treat trauma, inflammation, and de- generative processes.
Informal experience in patients with chemother- apy-related stomatitis suggests that the condition may respond to treatment with TRAUMEEL S homeopath- ic-complex remedy. Based on this and subsequent positive results from a preliminary open study in 20 patients with stomatitis who were treated with TRAUMEEL S compared with 7 untreated, randomly selected patients,13 we decided to conduct the ran- domized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial reported here.
MATERIALS AND METHODS Patients Thirty-two consecutive patients who were admitted to Schneider Children’s Medical Center, ages 3–25 years,
suffering from malignant diseases and underwent BMT were enrolled. Patients had undergone alloge- neic or autologous stem cell transplantation.14 The study was approved by the ethical committee at the Rabin Medical Center, and informed, written consent was obtained from parents and/or guardians of all children prior to their enrolment in the study after a full explanation of the benefits, potential hazards, and procedures involved in the study to the patients and their parents and/or guardians.
For this study, both TRAUMEEL S and placebo were provided by the HEEL Company (Baden-Baden, Ger- many) in sterile, 2.2-mL ampoules. Solutions of TRAUMEEL S were prepared by diluting the active substance in saline, according to the German Homeo- pathic Pharmacopoeia (HAB). The placebo consisted only of saline. The active medication and placebo did not differ in color, taste, or odor.
TRAUMEEL S is manufactured according to the European Union Guidelines on Good Manufacturing Practice for Medicinal Products15 and in accordance with the HAB. The physical and microbiologic controls of the medications were according to the European Pharmacopoeia specifications.
Extensive safety data from a large survey of TRAUMEEL S showed adverse events in only 0.0035% of patients, despite its use in over 3.5 million patients (manufacturer’s own survey). Adverse effects reported were mostly skin reactions to the cream or local pru- ritus as a reaction to injection. However, because TRAUMEEL S contains dilutions of substances that may be regarded as toxic, we calculated the content of one of the most toxic substances, a mercury salt, in the medication. Assuming that a patient will have to be treated with TRAUMEEL S for 1 week, he or she will receive 35 ampoules. The mercury concentration of one ampoule is 0.5 ng/mL, giving a total amount of ingested mercury of approximately 17.5 ng per week. This compares favorably with the permitted mercury content of drinking water according to German law (0.001 mg/L).16 Thus, a 1-week treatment of TRAUMEEL S contains approximately 10��3 of the amount of mercury deemed permissible in 1 L of drinking water.
Thirty-two patients received various conditioning reg- imens for 5–8 days followed by autologous (16 pa- tients) or allogeneic (16 patients) stem cell infusion on Day 0. Patients were randomized to receive either placebo or TRAUMEEL S on Day 2 of the study in addition to twice-daily mouth washes with chlorohex- imide, oral amphoterin B, and gentle tooth brushing
TRAUMEEL Treatment of Stomatitis/Oberbaum et al. 685
686 CANCER August 1, 2001 / Volume 92 / Number 3
TABLE 1 World Health Organization Grading System for Mucositis
0 No change 1 Soreness/erythema (painless) 2 Erythema (painful), ulcers; can eat solids 3 Ulcers; requires liquid diet only 4 Alimentation not possible
(institutional standard for mouth care). Packages of TRAUMEEL S and placebo were prepared by the HEEL Company and were identified by serial number only. The code showing the treatment corresponding to each serial number was kept by the company, the study coordinator (M.O.), and the statistician (L.S.F.). The code was not broken until the completion of the trial. Treatment was started on Day 2 after stem cell transplantation, so that treatment began before the first symptoms of stomatitis (e.g., dryness and/or sore- ness of the mouth) were observed. The peak incidence of mucositis is typically 5–7 days after transplantation. Fifteen evaluable patients received placebo, and 15 evaluable patients received TRAUMEEL S. Patients were instructed to rinse their mouths vigorously with the solution for a minimum of 30 seconds before swallowing. In addition, patients were directed to keep the liquid as long as possible on particularly trouble- some lesions in their mouth. This procedure was re- peated five times daily.
The World Health Organization (WHO) grading system for mucositis (Table 1) was used to evaluate stomatitis in each patient.17 In addition, a subjective scoring system was used in which either the patient or the parents were asked to judge the degree of oral pain and discomfort, dryness of mouth and tongue, dys- phagia, and ability to swallow. A five-grade system was used (Grade 0, no complaints; Grade 4, very severe complaints, unable even to swallow liquids). The time to worsening of stomatitis was evaluated as the time from randomization to the day when the mucositis score increased from that recorded at baseline. Pa- tients were evaluated at least once every 2 days. All evaluations were performed blind by the same ob- server (the study nurse). The trial continued until the patient symptomology had been scored as Grade 0 on 2 consecutive days or until a minimum of 14 days after the start of TRAUMEEL S or placebo treatment in patients in whom no symptoms developed.
The trial was carried out at the Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, The Schneider Children’s Med- ical Center of Israel, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva, Israel. All study forms were collected, stored, and transferred to computer for analysis by the study
coordinator (M.O.). Statistical analysis was performed at the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel (L.S.F.). The randomization code was prepared by the manufacturer (HEEL Company) and was re- vealed only on completion of the study. Neither the manufacturer, the study coordinator, nor the statisti- cian was involved in any aspect of the treatment of participating patients.
All statistical analyses were done on an intent-to-treat basis unless indicated otherwise. That is, each patient was considered to be allocated randomly to a group regardless of the treatment actually received. The two main treatment comparisons, as specified in the pro- tocol, were of the area under the curve (AUC) for stomatitis symptoms, and the time to first worsening of stomatitis symptoms. Both are based on the WHO grading system.
The AUC is equivalent to the sum of the grade on each day from the start of TRAUMEEL S or placebo treatment. It therefore incorporates both severity and duration of symptoms. When grades were recorded every other day, we used linear interpolation to esti- mate the stomatitis score on those days when evalu- ation did not occur. Because the AUC score distribu- tion was not normal, statistical comparison was performed using the two-sample Wilcoxon rank-sum test.
Most patients (77%) started TRAUMEEL S or pla- cebo treatment before the onset of symptoms. In these patients, therefore, the time to worsening of symp- toms was the same as the time to the start of symp- toms. Consequently, the time to worsening differed from time to first development of symptoms in only 23% of patients (17% with Grade 1 symptoms and 6% with Grade 2 symptoms). The statistical comparison of this endpoint was performed using the log-rank test. All P values reported are two-sided.
RESULTS Patients A total of 32 patients were enrolled in this trial. How- ever, two patients (one in the TRAUMEEL S treatment group and the other in the placebo group) received a single dose of study drug but then refused further treatment, complaining of nausea. These patients were not evaluated subsequently for stomatitis and, thus, cannot be included in this analysis. Fifteen pa- tients each remained in the TRAUMEEL S group and the placebo group. The distribution of patient charac- teristics for each group is shown in Table 2. The groups were comparable with regard to age, gender, type of BMT, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor
TABLE 2 Patient Characteristics
Patients (no.) Age (yrs)
Mean (SD) Distribution
3–4 5–9 10–14 15–19 20–25
Gender (no. of men) (%) Diagnosis (%)
AML ALL CML Lymphoma Othera BMT (%) Allogeneic Autologous
GCSF GVHD prophylaxis (%)
CSA only CSA methotrexate CSA steroids None
TABLE 3 Stomatitis Area Under the Curve Scores and Time to First Worsening of Symptoms by Allocated Treatment
AML: acute myelogenous leukemia; ALL: acute lymphoblastic leukemia; CML: chronic myelogenous leukemia; BMT: bone marrow transplantation; GCSF: granulocyte-colony stimulating factor; GVHD: graft versus host disease; CSA: cyclosporin A; SD: standard deviation. a Other diagnoses in the TRAUMEEL group: one neuroblastoma, one aplastic anemia, one thalas- semia, one Ewing sarcoma, and one medulloblastoma. Other diagnoses in the placebo group: one neuroblastoma, one Wilms tumor, two aplastic anemia, one thalassemia, one Ewing sarcoma, and one Fanconi syndrome.
treatment and prophylaxis against graft versus host disease (GVHD). However, there were some differ- ences in the distribution of diseases between the groups: There were seven patients versus three pa- tients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and zero patients versus three patients with lymphoma in the TRAUMEEL S and placebo groups, respectively. In addition, the three patients who underwent a higher risk BMT (haploidentical or cord blood) all were allo- cated randomly to the TRAUMEEL S treatment group. The use of concomitant medication, including analge- sic treatment, was comparable in both treatment groups.
There was doubt regarding the stomatitis score of Patient 12 as a result of an administrative error. Our policy in areas of doubt was to take the value less favorable to the TRAUMEEL S treatment group. In this instance, the choice was between an AUC score of either 38 or 0, and we used the score of 38. In addition, one patient who was allocated to the placebo group inadvertently received TRAUMEEL S. However, this
AUC: area under the curve. a Test for difference in AUC: Wilcoxon rank sum score, 167.5; expected score, 232.5 (P �� 0.01). b Test for difference in time to worsening: chi-square test, 13.4 with 1 degree of freedom (P �� 0.001). c The patient received TRAUMEEL S�� accidentally. d There was doubt regarding the AUC score and time to worsening. An alternative interpretation would be AUC, 0; time �� 19 days. e Means and medians of uncensored times only are shown.
patient was still considered part of the placebo treat- ment group, and it is interesting to note that this patient had the second lowest stomatitis AUC score in the placebo treatment group. This patient was in- cluded in the analysis according to the intent-to-treat principle and to guard against any bias in the study. Exclusion of this patient from the analysis would have increased the difference between the treatment groups (in favor of TRAUMEEL S). In view of the double-blind design and the intention-to-treat analy- sis used, it seems unlikely that these irregularities would have substantially affected the results of the study.
The stomatitis AUC scores, together with the times to first worsening, are summarized in Table 3. Stomatitis AUC scores range from 0 to 56. Five patients (33%) allocated to the TRAUMEEL S group did not develop stomatitis (AUC score, 0) compared with 1 patient (7%) from the placebo group. The mean AUC scores were 10.4 in the TRAUMEEL S group and 24.3 in the placebo group. This difference was statistically signif-
10.1 (7.0) 3 5
1 9 3 0 6 4 7 20 9 11 12d 38 13 0 15 0 17 0 19 17 22 0 23 17 25 3 28 5 30 26.5 Mean 10.4 Median 5.0
6 2 3 1 8 (53)
3 (20) 1 (7) 1 (7) 3 (20) 7 (47)
8 (53) 7 (47) 4 (27)
1 (7) 3 (20) 3 (20) 8 (53)
3 3 3 1 9 (60)
7 (47) 2 (13) 1 (7) 0 (0) 5 (33)
7 (47) 8 (53) 4 (27)
2 (13) 4 (27) 1 (7) 8 (53)
worsening AUCa (days)b
27.5 4 16 4 16 2–3 36 1–2 4 6–7 56 4 14 2–3 20 2–3 31 10–11 21 3
0 ��6 26.5 5 45 4 35 10 16 4 24.3 4.3e 21.0 4.0e
TRAUMEEL S�� Treatment of Stomatitis/Oberbaum et al. 687
Time to worsening (days)b Patient
��8 2 ��18 4 ��9 5 4–5 8 3–5 10c 20 11 ��13 14 ��13 16 ��5 18 5 20 ��10 21 4–7 24 ��8 26 7 27 2–3 29 6.9e — 4.7e —
688 CANCER August 1, 2001 / Volume 92 / Number 3
icant (Wilcoxon rank-sum score, 167.5; expected score, 232.5; P �� 0.01) and suggests that TRAUMEEL S treatment reduced the severity and/or duration of sto- matitis compared with placebo.
In the group of 22 patients age �� 15 years, the mean AUC score for stomatitis was 11.0 in the TRAUMEEL S group and 25.9 in the placebo group. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test for the difference re- mained statistically significant (Wilcoxon rank-sum score, 93.0; expected score, 126.5; P �� 0.01). Thus, the difference remains only if younger patients are con- sidered.
Seven patients (47%) in the TRAUMEEL S treat- ment group and 14 patients (93%) in the placebo group experienced worsening of symptoms during treatment. The log-rank test indicated that there was a statistically significant difference (chi-square test, 13.4 with 1 degree of freedom; P �� 0.001) between the two groups in the time to worsening of symptoms. In those patients whose symptoms worsened, the median time to worsening was 4.7 days in the TRAUMEEL S group and 4.0 days in the placebo group. These results indi- cate that symptoms were much less likely to worsen in patients receiving TRAUMEEL S treatment than in those receiving placebo, but that, among those whose symptoms did worsen, there was little difference in the median time to worsening of stomatitis between the two treatment groups.
Subjective Symptom Score
The maximum symptom scores for dryness of mouth, oral pain, and eating difficulty over the first 7 days of TRAUMEEL S and placebo treatment are shown in Figure 1. These data were recorded at regular intervals over the 7-day treatment period. These results are very similar to the stomatitis AUC score results: Patients in the TRAUMEEL S group showed a clear reduction in severity of symptoms in all three categories, as indi- cated by changes in the symptom grading system, compared with the placebo group.
Safety and Tolerability
There was a high incidence of serious complications but with no significant difference between the groups, as expected in a group of patients undergoing BMT. GVHD occurred in three patients in the TRAUMEEL S group compared with six patients in the placebo group, sepsis occurred in three patients in the TRAUMEEL S group compared with eight patients in the placebo group, and gastrointestinal complications occurred in no patients in the TRAUMEEL S group compared with five patients in the placebo group. Four patients with venous-occlusive disease occurred in the TRAUMEEL S group compared with none in the placebo group, and pneumonitis occurred in four pa-
FIGURE 1. The maximum subjective score (0, no complaints; 4, very severe complaints/parenteral nutrition necessary) during the first 7 days of study treatment with TRAUMEEL (n �� 15 patients) or placebo (n �� 15 patients) for dryness of mouth (a), oral pain (b), and eating difficulty (c).
tients in the TRAUMEEL S group compared with none in the placebo group. Some patients developed more than one of these complications. There was no differ- ence in the incidence or duration of severe neutrope- nia between the two treatment groups.
There was no significant difference in the number of deaths between the TRAUMEEL S and placebo groups in a follow-up of 44 weeks. Only one death occurred during the study period (to Day 20).
Currently available treatments for chemotherapy-in- duced stomatitis are of limited efficacy in preventing or ameliorating it. The effect of local treatment is short lived, and the medications often have an unpleasant taste. Moreover, the risk of absorption limits the fre- quency with which some of these drugs may be used in small children and in the elderly. For these reasons, the potential benefits of treatment with TRAUMEEL S are of particular interest.
This study demonstrated a statistically significant and clinically relevant difference in efficacy between TRAUMEEL S and placebo in the treatment of stoma- titis in children undergoing stem cell transplantation. The strategy of analysis employed in this trial protects against any bias toward TRAUMEEL S. For example, a patient who developed stomatitis on the day that TRAUMEEL S was discontinued (Day 20) was classed as having stomatitis despite developing the condition after treatment was stopped. Patient 10, who acciden- tally received TRAUMEEL S instead of placebo, still was considered part of the placebo group and, in fact, had the second lowest stomatitis AUC score in this group. In addition, there was an excess of patients with lymphoma and a deficit of those with AML in the TRAUMEEL S group. Because it was observed that AML patients had, on average, slightly lower AUC scores compared with other patients in this trial (data not shown), any resulting bias would not benefit the TRAUMEEL S group. Finally, the three transplant pa- tients who were at the highest risk were allocated randomly to the TRAUMEEL S group. These patients subsequently died, two of them within 3 months of BMT. This may account for the somewhat higher number of deaths among patients in the TRAUMEEL S group. Because the AUC scores for these three patients were 0, 17, and 38, there is no evidence that these higher risk transplantation patients had less severe stomatitis.
Initial observations of treatment with TRAUMEEL S suggest that it is almost free from adverse effects. In addition to the patients in this trial, TRAUMEEL S has been given to over 80 patients receiving chemotherapy on an outpatient basis at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center. With the exception of one patient in the trial who stopped treatment on the first day and two other children who complained of nausea, no other acute adverse effects have been reported.
The mechanism of action of TRAUMEEL S re- mains unknown. It also is unclear whether only one of its components is biologically active or whether the effects are due to the action of several components. The marked effects seen in this study were achieved using a solution of TRAUMEEL S containing ingredi-
ents in very low concentrations. Some of the ingredi- ents of TRAUMEEL S are regarded by homeopaths as remedies with anti-inflammatory properties (Bella- donna, Aconitum, Mercurius, Hepar, and Chamo- milla) or mucoprotective properties (Calendula and Hamamelis). Arnica is one of the main remedies used in homeopathic treatment of trauma. Arnica, Calen- dula, Hamamelis, and Milefolium are believed to have antihemorrhagic properties. Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea are thought to be immunos- timulatory. Hypericum has been used in patients with neural injury. This suggests that several components may play a role in the mechanism of action of TRAUMEEL S. Indeed, the observation that such a strong response is associated with such small quanti- ties of the different remedies in TRAUMEEL S suggests that a synergistic effect may be involved. However, further research is needed to identify which compo- nent(s) are the active compound(s).
The effect of orally administered TRAUMEEL S seems to be isolated to the oral mucosa. Patients with mucositis of other areas of the alimentary tract, for example, esophagitis, enteritis, or proctitis as assessed by subjective complaint (diarrhea and rectal or esoph- ageal pain), did not respond to the TRAUMEEL S administered orally in our trial. Furthermore, there was no difference between the two groups in the me- dian number of days with severe neutropenia. This supports the hypothesis that the effect of this homeo- pathic drug is a local one.
The localized effect of TRAUMEEL S also is im- portant for another reason, which has relevance to the general problem of complementary medicine in the treatment of patients with malignant disease. If com- plementary medical treatment in reality has no bio- logic effect, then at least it will do no harm. However, if it does have a biologic effect, and given our lack of understanding of the mechanisms of action of TRAUMEEL S and homeopathic medicine in general, concerns may be raised about deleterious systemic effects, for example, increasing the resistance of the malignant cells to chemotherapy. Because the effect of TRAUMEEL S appears to be only local, this concern becomes less relevant.
In conclusion, this double-blind, controlled study showed that TRAUMEEL S significantly reduces the severity and duration of chemotherapy-induced sto- matitis in children undergoing BMT. TRAUMEEL S appears capable, at least in part, of ameliorating a problem that not only causes considerable suffering to patients but often limits the possibilities of aggressive treatment with chemotherapy. Because there are few effective, conventional treatments for patients with chemotherapy-induced stomatitis currently available, the significance of treatment with TRAUMEEL S be-
TRAUMEEL Treatment of Stomatitis/Oberbaum et al. 689
690 CANCER August 1, 2001 / Volume 92 / Number 3
comes apparent. An effective treatment for stomatitis would allow more aggressive chemotherapy treat- ments, particularly in children, and, consequently, would be likely to improve the success rates of many chemotherapy programs. Our study population is small and includes patients with a variety of diagnoses who received several different forms of conditioning regimens. Confirmation of our results in a larger trial in patients receiving BMT or other intensive chemo- therapy protocols is needed. Therefore, we are plan- ning to extend our investigations to a large-scale, mul- ticenter study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TRAUMEEL S in the treatment of adults who are at risk for chemotherapy-induced stomatitis.
1. Wilkes RW. Prevention and treatment of oral mucositis fol- lowing cancer chemotherapy. Semin Oncol 1998;25:538 –51. 2. Sonis ST, Eiler EP, Epstein EB, Le Veque FG, Liggett WH Jr., Mulagha MT, et al. Validation of a new scoring system for the assessment of clinical trial research of oral mucositis induced
by radiation or chemotherapy. Cancer 1999;85:2103–13. 3. Mahood DJ, Dose AM, Loprinzi CL, Veeder MH, Athman LM, Therneau TM, et al. Inhibition of 5-fluoro-uracil-in- duced mucositis by oral cryotherapy. J Clin Oncol 1991;9:
449 –52. 4. Rocke LK, Loprinzi CL, Lee JK, Kunselman SJ, Iversen RK,
Finck G, et al. A randomized clinical trial of two different durations of oral cryotherapy for prevention of 5-fluoroura- cil-realted stomatitis. Cancer 1993;72:2234 – 8.
5. Peterson DE, Schubert MM. Oral toxicity. In: Perry MC, editor. The chemotherapy source book, 1st edition. Balti- more: Williams & Wilkins, 1991:508 –30.
6. Pizzo PA. Granulocytopenia and cancer therapy: past prob- lems, current solutions, future challenges. Cancer 1984;54: 2649 – 61.
7. Overholser CD, Peterson DE, Williams LT, Schimpff SC. Periodontal infections in patients with acute nonlympho- cytic leukemia: prevalence of acute exacerbations. Arch In- tern Med 1982;142:551–5.
8. Levine RS. Saliva 1—the nature of saliva. Dent Update 1989; 4:102– 6.
9. De Conno F, Ripamonti C, Sbanatto A, Ventafridda V. Oral complications in patients with advanced cancer. J Palliat Care 1989;5:7–15.
10. Pizzo PA. Management of fever in patients with cancer and treatment-induced neutropenia. N Engl J Med 1993;328(18): 1323–33.
11. Miascowski C. Management of mucositis during therapy. NCR Monogr 1990;9:95–8.
12. Peterson DE. Pretreatment strategies for infection preven- tion in chemotherapy patients. NCR Monogr 1990;9:61–71.
13. Oberbaum M. Experimental treatment of chemotherapy- induced stomatitis, using a homeopathic-complex remedy: a preliminary study. Biomed Ther 1998;16:261–5.
14. Lloyd ME. Oral medicine concerns the BMT patient. In: Buchsel P, Whedon M, editors. Bone marrow transplanta- tion administrative and clinical strategies, 1st edition. Bos- ton: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 1995:257–281.
15. Auterhoff G. Manufacture of investigational medicinal prod- ucts. European Commission, Directorate-General III, Indus- try: Consumer goods industries, III/E/3: Pharmaceuticals. Pharm Ind 59, 1997;2:121– 4.
16. Verordnung u ̈ ber Trinkwasser und u ̈ ber Wasser fu ̈ r Lebens- mittelbetriebe (Trinkwasserverordnung) vol 5.12.1990. Bundesgesetztblatt Jahrgang 66:Teil 1.
17. World Health Organization. Handbook for reporting results of cancer treatment (offset publication 48). Geneva: World Health Organization, 1979:15–22.