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Forsch Komplementmed. 2011;18(5):249-56. doi: 10.1159/000332820. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Phytodolor® in musculoskeletal disorders: re-analysis and meta-analysis.

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Institute of Complementary Medicine, University Hospital Zurich.



Treatment of rheumatic or musculoskeletal disorders (MD) is multi-disciplinary and includes herbal analgesics. Although already reviewed, no quantitative evaluation of efficacy and safety of the herbal combination Phytodolor® (STW1) is available.


We searched in databases and contacted authors and the manufacturer to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining STW1 in patients with MD. We made a reanalysis of raw data of eligible published and unpublished RCTs and pooled the results for meta-analysis according to Cochrane guidelines and intention-to-treat. Primary outcome measure was patient global assessment of efficacy, secondary outcome measure was pain at rest and on movement. Results were stratified according to treatment groups.


Patient data of 11 RCTs were eligible for pooling. In the entire population, STW1 was significantly superior compared to placebo in patients' global assessment of efficacy (group difference for rating very good/good: 20%; placebo 48.9% and STW1 69.1%; p < 0.001; OR 0.43; 95% CI 0.28-0.65) and in the subpopulation 'other rheumatic diseases' (placebo 45.4%; STW1 72.3%; p < 0.001; OR 0.32; 95% CI 0.2-0.52), but not in the subpopulation 'gonarthrosis'. STW1 did not differ significantly compared to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), neither in the entire population nor the subpopulations. Similar results were found for pain at rest and on movement. No serious adverse events (AE) but minor AE were reported (placebo 8.1%; STW1 14.2%; NSAIDs 18.9%).


According to the analysed data, STW1 showed a better pain reduction than placebo in patients with pain due to MD, probably equivalent to NSAIDs, and was well tolerated.

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