Move Over Voltaren Gel: Herbal Remedy Traumeel Is Just as Effective in Ankle Sprains

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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A topical ointment or gel is always more appealing than a pill for musculoskeletal pain. You can target the area, and you don’t have to deal with as many side effects. With the recent shortage of Voltaren gel, the widely-used prescription topical anti-inflammatory, this study comes at the perfect time.

The homeopathic ointment Traumeel out-performed Voltaren gel on ankle sprains. Ankle sprain is the most common ligament injury caused by sports and other physical activity and here is what we found out: Traumeel proved equal to Voltaren gel (diclofenac gel 1%) in achieving pain reduction and improved joint function in patients with acute ankle sprain.

Physically active patients aged 18 – 40 with an ankle sprain received treatment with either 2 grams of Traumeel ointment, Traumeel gel, or Voltaren gel (diclofenac) 1% applied three times daily for 2 weeks. The Traumeel group had more reduction in pain than the diclofenac group. At 6 weeks of follow-up, all participants reported total pain relief and normal functioning. The median time to normal activity was 19 days for both the Traumeel ointment group and Voltaren gel.

So what is this Traumeel? Traumeel is an over-the-counter homeopathic remedy containing a mix of 12 medicinal herbs, including arnica, calendula, hypericum, chamomile, witch hazel, belladonna, and monkshood, as well as two minerals.

It is available over the counter in the US and more than 60 other countries. Voltaren gel is a prescription medication that is approved for treating osteoarthritic joints that has been hard to find in pharmacies due to shortages. Turns out, Traumeel may be a better bet anyway.

Dr O.

Voltaren Gel is available only with a prescription, and does not have a generic equivalent. If covered by insurance, it will likely be a Tier 2 or Tier 3 medication, meaning a moderate to high copay. A 100g tube of Voltaren may cost as low as $40 – $45 for cash-paying patients, and there is a manufacturer discount available; more information can be found here: http://www.voltarengel.com/consumer/default.aspx
Traumeel ointment or gel is available for as low as $10 – $25 per tube, and can be found in local stores and online.

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