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Well controlled, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of classical Ayurvedic treatment are possible in rheumatoid arthritis
  1. Daniel E Furst1,
  2. Manorama M Venkatraman2,
  3. B G Krishna Swamy3,
  4. Mary McGann3,
  5. Cathryn Booth-LaForce2,
  6. P Ram Manohar3,
  7. Reshmi Sarin3,
  8. Anita Mahapatra3,
  9. P R Krishna Kumar3
  1. 1University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  3. 3The Ayurvedic Trust, Coimbatore, India
  1. Correspondence to Daniel E Furst, 1000 Veteran Avenue, Room 32–59, Los Angeles, California 90025, USA; defurst{at}

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The objective of this short communication is to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of multiple placebos to individualise treatment when using classical Ayurveda for rheumatoid arthritis in well controlled, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

A total of 46 patients ≥18 years of age, with active rheumatoid arthritis as diagnosed using American College of Rheumatology criteria, were randomised to 1 of 3 outpatient treatment groups: methotrexate+placebo Ayurveda; Ayurveda+placebo methotrexate; and methotrexate+Ayurveda. The Ayurvedic doctor was free to choose from 148 formulations, which were in the form of 6 traditional dosage forms: decoctions, herbal powders, pills, herbal wines, herbal jams and herb-infused oils. Six placebos were also formulated, with each placebo representing a dosage form.

All appropriate institutional review board approvals were obtained. Formulations were …

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  • Funding This study was supported by an award from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH grant 1 R21 AT-01969 and by the Ayurvedic Trust, Coimbatore, India.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the UCLA.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.