The scientific basis of homeopathy has been called into question constantly
since its beginning. Pharmaceutical drugs are judged not by the knowledge of chemical action (many drugs have non-FDA approved
uses that are only later explained) but by how well they treat illness. If the same standard is held to homeopathics, they
meet the criteria. The scientific gold standard of drug use is the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Hundreds
of such studies have been done with homeopathics, some with positive results, some with negative. Analysis of all those studies
has been done by several meta-analyses. The most recent large scale meta-analysis abstract is included as well as multiple
smaller positive study results. Since the medical community has found sufficient merit in homeopathy to test it, and since
those tests have overall shown an effect greater than that produced by placebo, homeopathy should be considered both scientific
In fact, recent medical research into the "placebo effect" have shown it
to be nothing more than a good doctor-patient relationship. Giving sugar pills no longer provide today's more sophisticated
patient with any improved result. Since homeopathics may provide at least palliative benefit to patients otherwise unable
to receive relief, and since homeopathics for those patients are very cost effective, it is disturbing to see it denied patients
on the basis of an unknown mechanism of action. Homeopathy has been shown in multiple tests (at high dilution) to be virtually
free of side effects, and is extremely cost-effective to produce, so it provides dramatic competition to current drug options.
In situations where drugs are unavailable due to cost, homeopathics can provide possibly life saving relief to children with
Placebo treatment versus no treatment.
Hrobjartsson A, Gotzsche PC.
The Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet, Department 7112, Blegdamsvej 9,
Copenhagen O, Denmark, DK-2100. email@example.com
BACKGROUND: Placebo interventions are often believed to improve
patient reported and observer reported outcomes, but this belief is not based on evidence from randomised trials that compare
placebo with no treatment. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of placebo interventions. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the
Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (The Cochrane Library, issue 3, 1998), MEDLINE (Jan 1966 to Dec 1998), EMBASE (Jan 1980
to Dec 1998), Biological Abstracts (Jan 1986 to Dec 1998), PsycLIT (Jan 1887 to Dec 1998). Experts on placebo research were
contacted and references in the included trials were read. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised placebo trials with a no-treatment
control group investigating any health problem were included. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently assessed
trial quality and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional information. MAIN RESULTS: Outcome data were
available in 114 out of 130 included trials, investigating 40 clinical conditions. Outcomes were binary in 32 trials (3795
patients) and continuous in 82 (4730 patients). We found no statistically significant pooled effect of placebo in studies
with binary outcomes, relative risk 0.95 (95 per cent confidence interval 0.88 to 1.02). The pooled relative risk for subjective
(patient reported) outcomes was 0.95 (0.86 to 1.05) and for objective (observer reported) outcomes 0.91 (0.80 to 1.04). There
was statistically significant heterogeneity (P < 0.03), but no evidence of sample size bias (P = 0.56). We found an overall
positive effect of placebo treatments in trials with continuous outcomes, standardised mean difference -0.28 (95 per cent
confidence interval -0.38 to -0.19). The standardised mean difference for subjective outcomes was -0.36 (-0.47 to -0.25),
whereas no statistically significant effect was found for objective outcomes, standardised mean difference -0.12 (-0.27 to
0.03). There was statistically significant heterogeneity (P < 0.001), and evidence of sample size bias (P = 0.05). There
was no statistically significant effect of placebo interventions in eight out of nine clinical conditions investigated in
three trials or more (nausea, relapse in prevention of smoking and depression, overweight, asthma, hypertension, insomnia
and anxiety), but confidence intervals were wide. There was a modest apparent analgesic effect of placebo interventions, standardised
mean difference -0.27 (-0.40 to -0.15), but also a substantial risk of bias. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence
that placebo interventions in general have clinically important effects. A possible moderate effect on subjective continuous
outcomes, especially pain, could not be clearly distinguished from bias.
PMID: 12535498 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Ann Intern Med. 2003 Oct 21;139(8):W73; author reply
Ann Intern Med. 2003 Oct 21;139(8):W74; author reply
Ann Intern Med. 2003 Oct 21;139(8):W75; author reply
A critical overview of homeopathy.
Jonas WB, Kaptchuk TJ, Linde K.
Samueli Institute for Information
Biology, 121 South Saint Asaph Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Homeopathy is a 200-year-old
therapeutic system that uses small doses of various substances to stimulate autoregulatory and self-healing processes. Homeopathy
selects substances by matching a patient's symptoms with symptoms produced by these substances in healthy individuals. Medicines
are prepared by serial dilution and shaking, which proponents claim imprints information into water. Although many conventional
physicians find such notions implausible, homeopathy had a prominent place in 19th-century health care and has recently undergone
a worldwide revival. In the United States, patients who seek homeopathic care are more affluent and younger and more often
seek treatment for subjective symptoms than those who seek conventional care. Homeopathic remedies were allowed by the 1939
Pure Food and Drug Act and are available over the counter. Some data--both from randomized, controlled trials and laboratory
research--show effects from homeopathic remedies that contradict the contemporary rational basis of medicine. Three independent
systematic reviews of placebo-controlled trials on homeopathy reported that its effects seem to be more than placebo,
and one review found its effects consistent with placebo. There is also evidence from randomized, controlled trials that homeopathy
may be effective for the treatment of influenza, allergies, postoperative ileus, and childhood diarrhea. Evidence suggests
that homeopathy is ineffective for migraine, delayed-onset muscle soreness, and influenza prevention. There is a lack of conclusive
evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for most conditions. Homeopathy deserves an open-minded opportunity to demonstrate
its value by using evidence-based principles, but it should not be substituted for proven therapies.
PMID: 12614092 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
BMJ 1991 Feb 9;302(6772):316-23
BMJ 1991 Apr 6;302(6780):818
BMJ. 1991 Mar 23;302(6778):727.
BMJ. 1991 Mar 2;302(6775):529.
Clinical trials of homoeopathy.
Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G.
Department of Epidemiology
and Health Care Research, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
OBJECTIVE--To establish whether there
is evidence of the efficacy of homoeopathy from controlled trials in humans. DESIGN--Criteria based meta-analysis. Assessment
of the methodological quality of 107 controlled trials in 96 published reports found after an extensive search. Trials were
scored using a list of predefined criteria of good methodology, and the outcome of the trials was interpreted in relation
to their quality. SETTING--Controlled trials published world wide. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Results of the trials with the best
methodological quality. Trials of classical homoeopathy and several modern varieties were considered separately. RESULTS--In
14 trials some form of classical homoeopathy was tested and in 58 trials the same single homoeopathic treatment was given
to patients with comparable conventional diagnosis. Combinations of several homoeopathic treatments were tested in 26 trials;
isopathy was tested in nine trials. Most trials seemed to be of very low quality, but there were many exceptions. The results
showed a positive trend regardless of the quality of the trial or the variety of homeopathy used. Overall, of the 105 trials
with interpretable results, 81 trials indicated positive results whereas in 24 trials no positive effects of homoeopathy were
found. The results of the review may be complicated by publication bias, especially in such a controversial subject as
homoeopathy. CONCLUSIONS--At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive
conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias.
This indicates that there is a legitimate case for further evaluation of homoeopathy, but only by means of well performed
PMID: 1825800 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2003 Mar;22(3):229-34.
Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: combined results and metaanalysis
from three randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D.
Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington
School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA. email@example.com
BACKGROUND: Previous studies have
shown a positive treatment effect of individualized homeopathic treatment for acute childhood diarrhea, but sample sizes were
small and results were just at or near the level of statistical significance. Because all three studies followed the same
basic study design, the combined data from these three studies were analyzed to obtain greater statistical power. METHODS:
Three double blind clinical trials of diarrhea in 242 children ages 6 months to 5 years were analyzed as 1 group. Children
were randomized to receive either an individualized homeopathic medicine or placebo to be taken as a single dose after each
unformed stool for 5 days. Parents recorded daily stools on diary cards, and health workers made home visits daily to monitor
children. The duration of diarrhea was defined as the time until there were less than 3 unformed stools per day for 2 consecutive
days. A metaanalysis of the effect-size difference of the three studies was also conducted. RESULTS: Combined analysis
shows a duration of diarrhea of 3.3 days in the homeopathy group compared with 4.1 in the placebo group (P = 0.008). The
metaanalysis shows a consistent effect-size difference of approximately 0.66 day (P = 0.008). CONCLUSIONS: The results from
these studies confirm that individualized homeopathic treatment decreases the duration of acute childhood diarrhea and suggest
that larger sample sizes be used in future homeopathic research to ensure adequate statistical power. Homeopathy should be
considered for use as an adjunct to oral rehydration for this illness.
PMID: 12634583 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
J Altern Complement Med 2000 Apr;6(2):131-9
Homeopathic treatment of acute childhood diarrhea: results from
a clinical trial in Nepal.
Jacobs J, Jimenez
LM, Malthouse S, Chapman E, Crothers D, Masuk M, Jonas WB.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health
and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the
finding in a previous study that homeopathic medicines decrease the duration of acute diarrhea in children could be replicated
in a different study population. DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. SETTING: Private, charitable
health clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal. SUBJECTS: A consecutive sample of 126 children, 6 months to 5 years of age, who presented
during April through June, 1994, with more than three unformed stools in the previous 24 hours. INTERVENTION: Children received
either an individualized homeopathic medicine or placebo, to be taken one dose after each unformed stool for 5 days. Parents
recorded daily stools on diary cards, and health workers made home visits daily to monitor children. OUTCOME MEASURES: Predefined
measures were based on the previous study: (1) duration of diarrhea, defined as the time until there were fewer than three
unformed stools per day, for two consecutive days, and (2) Average number of stools per day for each group. RESULTS: Of the
126 children initially enrolled, 116 completed treatment. The mean number of stools per day over the entire 5-day treatment
period was 3.2 for the treatment group and 4.5 for the placebo group (P = 0.023). A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of the
duration of diarrhea, which included data from all patient visits, showed an 18.4% greater probability that a child would
be free of diarrhea by day 5 under homeopathic treatment (P = 0.036). CONCLUSIONS: These results are consistent with the finding from the previous study that individualized homeopathic treatment
decreases the duration of diarrhea and number of stools in children with acute childhood diarrhea.
Clinical Trial PMID: 10784270 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Randomized Controlled Trial
Pediatrics 1994 May;93(5):719-25
Pediatrics. 1994 Dec;94(6 Pt 1):963-4; discussion 965.
Pediatrics. 1994 Dec;94(6 Pt 1):963; discussion 965.
Pediatrics. 1994 Dec;94(6 Pt 1):963; discussion 965.
Pediatrics. 1994 Dec;94(6 Pt 1):964-5; discussion 965.
Pediatrics. 1994 Dec;94(6 Pt 1):964; discussion 965.
Pediatrics. 1995 Jan;95(1):159; discussion 160.
Pediatrics. 1995 Jan;95(1):160; discussion 160-1.
Pediatrics. 1996 May;97(5):776; discussion 777-8.
Pediatrics. 1996 May;97(5):777; discussion 777-8.
Pediatrics. 1996 May;97(5):779.
Treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with homeopathic medicine:
a randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua.
J, Jimenez LM, Gloyd SS, Gale JL, Crothers D.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine,
University of Washington, Seattle.
OBJECTIVE. Acute diarrhea is the leading cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality
worldwide. Oral rehydration treatment can prevent death from dehydration, but does not reduce the duration of individual episodes.
Homeopathic treatment for acute diarrhea is used in many parts of the world. This study was performed to determine whether
homeopathy is useful in the treatment of acute childhood diarrhea. METHODOLOGY. A randomized double-blind clinical trial comparing
homeopathic medicine with placebo in the treatment of acute childhood diarrhea was conducted in Leon, Nicaragua, in July 1991.
Eighty-one children aged 6 months to 5 years of age were included in the study. An individualized homeopathic medicine was
prescribed for each child and daily follow-up was performed for 5 days. Standard treatment with oral rehydration treatment
was also given. RESULTS. The treatment group had a statistically significant (P < .05) decrease in duration of diarrhea,
defined as the number of days until there were less than three unformed stools daily for 2 consecutive days. There was also
a significant difference (P < .05) in the number of stools per day between the two groups after 72 hours of treatment.
CONCLUSIONS. The statistically significant decrease
in the duration of diarrhea in the treatment group suggests that homeopathic treatment might be useful in acute childhood
diarrhea. Further study of this treatment deserves consideration.
Randomized Controlled Trial
PMID: 8165068 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Homeopathy 2002 Jul;91(3):162-5
A new database on basic research in homeopathy.
Albrecht H, van Wijk R, Dittloff S.
Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung,
Essen, Germany. email@example.com
A new database on 'Basic Research on Homeopathy' has been established.
It contains research on biological systems and physico-chemical effects of the succussion process. It is aimed at the elucidation
of the working mechanism of the homeopathic similia principle following application of low doses and potencies of substances.
By the end of 2000, this database included 829 experiments in 782 primary publications. The publications are classified
according to organism and field of interest. Several reasons for the relatively high number of experiments and publications
are presented. It is concluded that the research community would benefit from a European research agenda with a priority on
the translation of relevant publications from the different European languages into English.
PMID: 12322870 [PubMed
- in process]
Palliat Med 2002 May;16(3):227-33
The homeopathic approach to symptom control in the cancer patient:
a prospective observational study.
EA, Reillly D.
Directorate of Homeopathic Medicine, United Bristol Healthcare Trust, Bristol Homeopathic Hospital,
The aims of this study were to describe a population of patients with cancer referred for complementary therapies
to an NHS homeopathic hospital, and to explore the homeopathic approach to symptom control and its impact on mood disturbance
and quality of life. One hundred consecutive patients attending a designated research cancer clinic were seen for a consultation,
lasting up to 60 min, and prescription of a homeopathic remedy. A maximum of three symptoms were identified and rated by the
patient as a problem, using a numerical self-rating scale. The effect these symptoms have on daily life and overall sense
of well being were recorded using similar scales. Patients completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and
the European Organization for Research and Treatment in Cancer--Quality of Life Questionnaire--Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-30) at the
initial consultation and at four to six consultations later. After this time, the patients completed a final assessment questionnaire
asking about satisfaction with the homeopathic approach, how helpful they had found the approach for the targeted symptoms
and what factors they felt may have contributed to the changes perceived. One hundred patients were entered into the study.
Thirty-nine patients had metastatic disease. Nine patients were refusing conventional cancer treatments. The most common symptoms
were pain, fatigue and hot flushes. Symptom scores for fatigue and hot flushes improved significantly over the study period
but not for pain scores. Side effects included a transient worsening of symptoms in a few cases, which settled on stopping
the remedy. Fifty-two patients completed the study, and in those patients satisfaction was high, and 75% (n=38) rated the
approach as helpful or very helpful for their symptoms. Results suggest that further research is warranted to explore
the management of hot flushes in women with breast cancer and fatigue in the cancer diagnosis.
PMID: 12046999 [PubMed
- indexed for MEDLINE]
OTHER RESEARCHERS (Not Medical. I do not know and cannot vouch for the
quality of this research.)