2009 saw Homeopathy under attack particularly in the UK but also worldwide due to the effectiveness of the internet. There seems to be a small but organised anti-homeopathy lobby who have very loud voices and the press tend to provide considerable media coverage to their press releases. When there is so much clinical evidence that Homeopathy works, this set of individuals have to practice intellectual dishonesty by literally ignore its existence in order to hold what is a very negative position about this effective medicine.
This article seeks to share some research and clinical trial references with you, so if you want to know more you can go and read them for yourself. The amount of research available is considerable but with the permission of Robert Medhurst from Brauers, I have reproduced some of his information, and this article contains some useful inks for you to look further.
Homeopathy has been around since the late 18th century and was developed by a German chemist. Currently Homeopathic medicines cost very little to produce and dispense, and therefore are not a potential high profit option for pharmaceutical companies. In fact ,when Homeopathic treatment eliminates the need for continued use of pharmaceuticals, this is not good news for drug companies! Interestingly, it has been said that some of the most loud dissenters of Homeopathy are supported or linked to some of the largest pharmaceutical companies. Go figure 🙂
Unfortunately the negative voices against Homeopathy have excellent support in the media so retractions and articles in response are not sensational and do not get coverage and exposure, so it is important that if you want to be informed about clinical research for Homeopathy, that you have some resources to guide you.
Clinical research comes in several different types and so thanks to the excellent article by Robert Medhurst from Brauers, I have grouped the research into three main types.
Human Clinical Trial Meta Analyses
These are systematic statistical analyses of existing human controlled trials that have met certain predetermined quality criteria. Their purpose is to determine if the research can show a trend exists.
- Kleijan et al in the BMJ report that of the 105 clincal trials that met the reviewer’s quality criteria, 81 of those trials showed a positive effect for Homeopathy (BMJ 1991:302:316-323)
- Coucherat, et al state, “There is some evidence that Homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo”. 16 studies were evaluated. (European journal of Clinical Pharmocol, 2000, 56,27)
- Mathie states, “The weight of evidence currently favors a positive treatment effect in eight areas: childhod diarrhoea, fibrositis, hayfever, influenza, pain, side effects of radio or chemotherapy, sprains and upper respiratory tract infections.” 93 studies were evaluated. (Homeopathy 2003 92:84-91)
- Barnes J, et al on post operative ileus, “There is evidence that Homeopathic treatment can reduce the duration of ileus after abdominal or gynaecological surgery”. 6 studies were evaluated. (Biomedical Therapy, vol XV11, 2 1999, 65-70)
- From Bornhoft, et al, “Effectiveness of Homeopathy can be supported by clinical evidence”. 74 studies were evaluated. (Forsch Komplementarmed. 2006;13 Sippl 2:19-29)
- Linde, et al, “Amongst the high quality studies, positive effects were reported 50% more often than negative effects”. 105 studies were evaluted. (Human and Experimental Toxicology, 1994, vol. 13, No 7, 481-492).
Individual Human Clinical Trials
These are high quality randomised controlled human clinical trials that have been carried out using Homeopathy. The list is too great to include them all here but access to them can be found on Medline, websites such as the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital and websites such as Homeopathic Doctor and Nutrition Matters.
A good example given of this type of study is a placebo controlled randomised trial looking at the use of Homeopathic medicines with 28 patients with allergic asthma caried out by David Reilly and published in The Lancet in 1994. Homeopathy proved superior to placebo (often the anti-homeopathy lobby claims that Homeopathic successes are due to the placebo effect). This trial was so well conducted and designed that The Lancet commented:
“either there is something amiss with the clinical trial as conventionaly conducted, or the effects of Homeopathic immunotherapy differ from those of placebo…..carefully done work of this sort should not be denied the attention of Lancet readers.” (Lancet vol 344 December 10, 1994, p1585)
These are observational studies analysing quality of life, clinical or other outcomes that have come about as a result of some specific invention.
- A study by Spence et al found that of 6544 consecutive UK National health Service patients treated with Homeopathy 70.7% reported positive health changes, with 50.7% recording their improvement as better or much better. (Complement Ther Med 2007 Jun:15(2):128-38)
- Marian, et al in a 2008 study found that “Overall patient satisfaction was significantly higher in Homeopathic than conventional care. Homeopathic treatments were perceived as low risk therpay with 2 to 3 times fewer side effects than cinventional care”. 3126 patients were involved in this study. (BMC Complement Atern Med. 2008 Sep 18;8:52)
- A study by Van Wassenhoven, et al found that “patients were very satisfied with their Homeopathic treatment, both they and their physiscians recorded significant improvement. Costs of Homeopathic treatment were significantly lower then conventional treatment, and many previously prescribed drugs were discontinued.” 782 patients were involved in this study. (Homeopathy. 2004 Jan;93 (1):3-11)
These studies cited above are a small sample of the homeopathic research available.Even without this research, the fact that Homeopathy has been in constant use as a system of medicine for over 200 years and is in fact, (according to Contemporary Paediatrics, May 2003, 20,97) the world’s second most popular form of healthcare with millions of satisfied users just speaks for itself!
Happy Homeopathic prescribing 🙂
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© Sam Adkins 2009
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This article was brought to you by Sam Adkins The Homeopathic Coach who teaches families about healthy living and natural remedies using homeopathic medicine. An internationally renowned expert, her helpful articles are regularly syndicated online. She publishes the ezine Homeopathy@Home to provide free Homeopathic tips, tools and resources to educate and inspire you to use Homeopathy at home. www.thehomeopathiccoach.com