Research: WHITMARSH and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 29

Abstract

WHITMARSH and colleagues, Princess Margaret Migraine Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital, London UK write that homoeopathic remedies for migraine are widely available over the counter are statutorily provided by the national health service in the UK and are apparently popular with migraine sufferers. The authors studied the use of homoeopathic remedies for migraine.

Background

Methodology

: 63 outpatient migraine sufferers with or without aura participated in a 4-month randomised placebo-controlled, double-blind parallel groups trial of individualised homoeopathic remedies, the first month the baseline, with all patients being given placebos. 3 patients in each group dropped out, leaving 30 per treatment group.

Results

At baseline, there were chance differences in attack frequency and severity between groups attacks were more frequent but less severe in the placebo group. Both groups improved with therapy, but neither to a great extent regarding the primary outcome measure of frequency of attack - verum: -19% placebo: -16%. In the placebo group, reduction was mostly in mild attacks in the homoeopathy group the reduction was more in moderate and severe attacks. There were few adverse events reported. Overall, there was no significant benefit of homoeopathic treatment over placebo. The course of change differed between the groups and suggested that improvement reversed in the last month of placebo treatment.

Conclusion

On the basis of these results, the authors cannot recommend homoeopathy for migraine relief, but they cannot conclude that it is without effect.

References

Whitmarsh TE et al. Double-blind randomised placebo- controlled study of homoeopathic prophylaxis of migraine. Cephalagia. 17(5): 600-4 Aug 1997.

Comment

Not being a homoeopath and therefore not privy to the "nitty gritty" of the materia medica, these results would seem to suggest that homoeopathic treatment appeared to have some effect. Probably migraine is of multi-factorial origin, involving allergies, stress and endocrine factors. Hence, it is difficult to imagine that homoeopathic treatment alone would succeed in the absence of other causes being addressed. Please, homoeopaths, write in with your comments.

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