A placebo controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a homeopathic after-bite gel in reducing mosquito bite induced erythema.
Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 ;49(1-2):103-8. PMID: 8751030
A randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial was conducted to examine the efficacy of a homeopathic after-bite gel in the symptomatic relief of mosquito bites. Sixty eight healthy volunteers were bitten under laboratory conditions by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at three spots, on the ventral aspect of the forearm. One bite was treated with the homeopathic after-bite gel, another bite with a placebo gel which was identical in appearance and smell to the homeopathic after-bite gel, and the third bite remained untreated. Immediately after the bites and 1, 3, 6, 26 and 31 hours post-bite, the length and width of the erythema were measured with a calliper, and photographs were taken of the bite sites from which the size of the erythema was subsequently determined. This was followed by assessment of the extent of itching with a verbal analogue scale, and finally treatment took place. For each spot the total erythema was calculated as the area under the plotted curve of the erythema at different time points (mm2*h) and the total sum of the itch scores was determined. For the bites treated with the homeopathic after-bite gel the median total erythema was 10.500 mm2*h. For the spots treated with the placebo gel and the untreated spots the median total erythema was 12.900 mm2*h and 13.300 mm2*h, respectively. The difference between the spots treated with the homeopathic after-bite gel and the untreated spots came close to significance (two-tailed P = 0.06), which was not the case for the difference between the spots treated with the homeopathic after-bite gel and the spots treated with placebo gel (P = 0.13). After pooling the data of a very similar previous pilot study and the present study (ntotal = 83), the homeopathic after-bite gel was significantly superior to no treatment (two-tailed P = 0.003) as well as to placebo gel (two-tailed P = 0.03). Comparing itching after the three treatments, no significant differences could be demonstrated. The extent of itching was positively correlated with the area of the erythema (r = 0.63). Treatment of mosquito bites with the homeopathic after-bite gel will reduce the erythema compared to no treatment. Comparison with the placebo gel suggests it is the plant extracts which are the active components of this gel.