Research: JACOBS and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 93

Abstract

JACOBS and colleagues, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA, jjacobs@igc.org, have analyzed the results from three randomized controlled trials of homeopathy for childhood diarrhoea.

Background

Studies have suggested a beneficial effect of homeopathy on childhood diarrhoea, but were conducted with small sample sizes so that the effects were just on the limit of significance. As all three of these studies were of similar design, the results have been combined so as to improve the statistical significance.

Methodology

Three double-blinded clinical trials of homeopathy for acute diarrhoea in a total of 242 children aged 6 months to 5 years were analyzed as one group. Children were randomized to receive either an individualized homeopathic medicine or a placebo to be taken in a single dose after each unformed stool for 5 days. A meta-analysis of the effect-size difference of the three studies was also performed.

Results

Combined analysis shows a duration of diarrhoea of 3.3 days in the homeopathy group as compared to 4.1 days in the placebo group (p = 0.008). The meta-analysis shows a consistent effect-size difference of approximately 0.66 day.

Conclusion

The results from these studies confirm that individualized homeopathic treatment reduces the duration of acute childhood diarrhoea. The work suggests that larger sample sizes be used in homeopathic research in order to ensure adequate statistical power. Homeopathy should be considered as an adjunct to oral rehydration in childhood diarrhoea.

References

Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D. Homeopathy for childhood diarrhoea: combined results and meta-analysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 22 (3): 229-234, Mar 2003.

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