Cobroxin: Pain Reliever or Placebo?

Some of you may know that I like to trade stocks.  You may even follow my trading blog.

One strategy that I like to do is to short sketchy Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) stocks and pump and dumps.  For example, I had a nice profit off of shorting the fraud GVBP and covering near 0 after the SEC stepped in and investigated them.

What's this got to do with this blog?

Well, there's this one particular sketchy company named Nutra Pharma Corp. (NPHC).  There's a lot of reasons why this company is shady.  Some of these reasons include a CEO with sketchy scientific credentials and who was caught plagiarizing from scientific research, and a former director with a past full of embezzlement charges and FTC false advertising.  However, this blog post isn't about the company NPHC...it's about the product they're pushing...Cobroxin.

Cobroxin is supposedly the "the first over-the-counter pain reliever clinically proven to treat various levels of chronic pain associated with lower back pain, shoulder pain, cramps, migraines, neuralgia and arthritis".

The first?  Hardly.  Plain ol' Tylenol has been shown in numerous studies to be effective in treating chronic pain.

Of course, that's not what's most B.S. about this product.  The product is made from cobra venom

That's right....this pain reliever is made from cobra venom. 

Now, the idea isn't totally absurd.  There is evidence that cobra venom has components that may have analgesic effects when injected.

However, the problem is with the Cobroxin product itself, and the complete lack of quality evidence to support its efficacy.

Cobroxin's manufacturer provides a list of studies that supposedly showed cobra venom or its components to have pain-relieving effects.  However, the majority of the studies they list involved injection of cobra venom or its components.  Only 7 out of the listed studies used oral delivery, and only 1 used topical delivery.  Of the 7 that used oral delivery, 6 of them did not report the dose used.  1 of them was only presented as an abstract at a conference and was never published in full form in a peer-reviewed journal.  There is no reference for another one (Xu et al, 2001).  2 more of them were presented in a Chinese journal (Journal of Snake), and there is no mention of placebo controls or blinding.  3 of these didn't even look at pain.

The fact is, the research presented that supposedly supports the use of Cobroxin is of extremely low quality (even the injection studies).  Many of the studies listed don't involve blinding, placebo controls, randomization, or any of the other things that are necessary for an adequate study.  Many of the studies presented are of so low quality, they would never be accepted in today's peer-reviewed journals (particularly in American or European journals, which are more stringent than Chinese journals).  Also, none of these studies involved Cobroxin itself; they are just studies on cobra venom and its components.

When it comes to pain relief, unblinded studies and studies that lack a placebo control are worthless.  It is well established that there is a significant placebo effect in analgesia studies.   Just the mere suggestion that a substance might relieve your pain will often actually reduce your pain, even if the substance has absolutely no biological effect.  There is evidence that the expectation of pain relief causes the release of dopamine and opioids, which, in turn, have an analgesic effect.

Another reason to be skeptical of Cobroxin is the long list of ailments that cobra venom or its components supposedly treat.  In this document, the manufacturer lists the treatment of everything from pain to diabetes to cancer to addiction.  Any time an ingredient is presented as a near "cure-all", it should be viewed with skepticism.

The fact is, there are no double-blind, placebo-controlled trials on Cobroxin published in peer-reviewed journals.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  The claims being made about this product are quite extraordinary....that it causes significant pain relief for moderate to severe chronic pain, across a wide variety of medical conditions.  And this is all without major side effects.  Such claims require much more evidence then the sketchy evidence that has been provided thus far.  However, given the shady history of Nutrapharma's executives, I doubt we'll ever see this level of evidence.

Disclosure:  I do NOT hold any position in NPHC, and never have.  I just find the claims being made about this product quite amusing, and deserving of a blog post.

 


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Tony K
Tony K
10 years ago

Cobroxin Spray really worked to almost stop my lower back pain of decades. I researched first, found no negatives against it. Reordering today. I agree that it seems fishy, but it Works, used as directed. It’s natural ingredients: 4% Cobra venom, so it not FDA reviewed, and apparently no reported damaging results, to close it down. 1 Spray bottle works about one month or so; after the 3 week start, one spray a day maintaines the pain relief. Am not involved with the company or stock. I fully agree it ‘looks suspicious’, but it works for me. Aspirins and pain… Read more »

Kundan Singh
Kundan Singh
10 years ago

my finger become locked when I apply cobroxinmy. finger stop to lock I want buy another bottle but I no find in Walgreen

RICK
RICK
10 years ago

I HAVE RA, I NEED A HIP REPLACEMENT & 2 KNEE REPLACEMENTS, DUE TO MY PHOBIAS OF HOSPITALS & DOCTORS, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!! SOMEONE TOLD ME ABOUT COBROXIN ABOUT FOUR MONTHS AGO. I USE THE ORAL SPRAY DAILY. BEEN USING IT FOR 3 MONTHS NOW, ON A SCALE OF 1-10 MY DAILY PAIN WAS 10+ NOW MY PAIN LEVEL IS ABOUT A 4 1/2 DID IT CURE ALL MY PAIN? NO, BUT LET ME SAY THIS, I LIVE BY THIS STUFF. IT WORKS!!!!! IF I DIDN’T NEED THE REPLACEMENTS, I THINK ALL MY PAIN WOULD BE GONE. I JUST… Read more »

coley
coley
11 years ago

I read some of your BS comments on others trying to give Cobroxin a chance until I couldn’t take any more! and even you made a remark on people STILL commenting on this!! Evidently ‘Cobroxin” has gotten even better!! Couldn’t imagine the new extra strength product, there is hope for those with terminal illness being free of pain! Have YOU actually tried to product? Twist an ankle while jogging? Pull out a shoulder while ‘typing’ with soooo much aggression/aggravation?? I am far beyond a stage 2 pain control…. fibromyalgia, 5 damaged lumbar disks/w nerve damage, 2 blown knees (just to… Read more »

Ann Brown
Ann Brown
11 years ago

Shelley: Glad to hear about your success with Cobroxin. It has been reformulated to be more concentrated, and renamed “Nyloxin”. You along with other users are pleased and excited with the pain relief they have experienced! Nyloxin provides all-natural anti-inflammatory analgesic pain relief that is non-toxic, non-narcotic, non-addictive, non-steroidal and contains no aspirin or acetaminophen. Safe to use without a prescription, it treats conditions that cause chronic pain, including lower back pain, rheumatoid arthritis and other joint pain, headaches and migraines, neck pain, neuralgia, repetitive stress pain and more. Jeffrey Gottfurcht Founder of the Children’s Arthritis Foundation, successfully scaled Mount… Read more »

shelley
shelley
11 years ago

My Neurosurgeon said he “rarely sees this much spinal degeneration in a person my age” Probably all there because I just figured out I am NOT invincible. I was walking/shuffling with two canes. The thing about pain.. while Acupuncture might help, Tylenol might help, Ibuprofen might help eventually the pain gets to the point that you start layering drugs. I was prescribed Vicodin, but after watching a family member abuse it… I only took it if I was at the end of my rope. So… you layer the pain meds.. adding a Vicodin every once in awhile… I was starting… Read more »

Just A Guy With Much Pain
Just A Guy With Much Pain
11 years ago

Going to buy and try Cobroxin soon. I will post results in the future.

Zachariah
Zachariah
11 years ago

Thanks a bunch, James. The information seemed to be from a non-biased approach, very well written.

Fat Bastard
11 years ago

I was skeptical but in the past some homepathic eye drops worked for my wife. This stuff has worked for me and I really doubt that it is the placebo effect. Placebos can’t stop muscle spasms. People who review this product typically give it 4 and 5 stars. I suffer chronic pain and I have suffered for more than 20 years due to disk herniations. I applied a small dab to my spine and within 20 minutes my pain was close to gone and my neck stopped popping and cracking. There is proof that spider and snake venoms block pain… Read more »

Gino
Gino
12 years ago

Go-Canucks-Go!

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