Research: MATHIE, Faculty of Homeopathy,

Listed in Issue 94

Abstract

MATHIE, Faculty of Homeopathy, 15 Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0AA, UK, rmathie@trusthomeopathy.org, has reviewed (116 references) the research evidence for homeopathy.

Background

Background: Results of several meta-analyses of clinical trials of homeopathy are positive, but in general they fail to point out specific medical conditions that respond well to homeopathy. This review examines the cumulative research from randomized and/or double-blinded clinical trials in homeopathy for individual conditions, in an effort to answer the question: What is the weight of the original evidence from published trials that homeopathy has an effect that is statistically significantly different from that of a control group?

Methodology

Methods: The 93 substantive randomized controlled trials that compare homeopathy either with placebo or with another treatment were analyzed.

Results

Results: 50 papers report a significant benefit of homeopathy in at least one clinical outcome measure. 41 papers report no difference between groups, and 2 describe a deterioration as a result of homeopathic treatment. Research has been carried out on 35 different medical conditions. The research favours a positive outcome with homeopathy in 8 of these: childhood diarrhoea, fibrositis, hay fever, influenza, miscellaneous pains, side-effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, sprains, and upper respiratory tract infections. Based on presently available research data, homeopathy appears to be ineffective with headache, stroke, and warts.

Conclusion

Conclusions: There is a need for more and better clinical trials of homeopathy asking more specific questions.

References

Mathie RT. The research evidence base for homeopathy: a fresh assessment of the literature. Homeopathy 92 (2): 84-91, Apr 2003.

Comment

Comment: Homeopathy appears to be one of those fields in which hardened opinions within certain professionals seem to preclude any change in attitude regarding clinical efficacy – even in the face of positive research results. This must be exceedingly maddening for those clinicians who spend their entire professional careers successfully treating patients using homeopathy. In the meantime, the public are voting by using homeopathic remedies, which are now available from virtually every chemist in the UK.

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