Research: HAIDVOGEL and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 148

Abstract

HAIDVOGEL and co-authors, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Homeopathy, Graz, Austria,  max.haidvogl@meduni-graz.at, have compared homeopathic and conventional treatment for acute respiratory and ear complaints.

Background

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of homeopathy compared to conventional treatment in acute respiratory and ear complaints in a primary care setting.

Methodology

The study was designed as a comparative cohort study of non-randomised design. Patients presenting with at least one chief complaint (acute runny nose, sore throat, ear pain, sinus pain or cough) were recruited at 57 primary care practices in Austria (8), Germany (8), the Netherlands (7), Russia (6), Spain (6), Ukraine (4), United Kingdom (10) and the USA (8) and given either homeopathic or conventional treatment. Therapy outcome was measured by using the response rate, defined as the proportion of patients experiencing 'complete recovery' or 'major improvement' in each treatment group. The primary outcome criterion was the response rate after 14 days of therapy.

Results

Data of 1,577 patients were evaluated in the full analysis set of which 857 received homeopathic and 720 conventional treatment. The majority of patients in both groups reported their outcome after 14 days of treatment as complete recovery or major improvement (Homeopathic: 86.9%; Conventional: 86.0%; p = 0.0003). Subgroup analysis showed no differences of response rates after 14 days in children (Homeopathic: 88.5%; Conventional: 84.5%) and adults (Homeopathic: 85.6%; Conventional: 86.6%). The unadjusted odds ratio of the primary outcome criterion was 1.40 (0.89-2.22) in children and 0.92 (0.63-1.34) in adults. The response rates after 7 and 28 days also showed no significant differences between both treatment groups. However, onset of improvement within the first 7 days after treatment was significantly faster upon homeopathic treatment both in children (p = 0.0488) and adults (p = 0.0001). Adverse drug reactions occurred more frequently in adults of the conventional group than in the homeopathic group (Conventional: 7.6%; Homeopathic: 3.1%, p = 0.0032), whereas in children the occurrence of adverse drug reactions was not significantly different (Homeopathic: 2.0%; Conventional: 2.4%, p = 0.7838).

Conclusion

In primary care, homeopathic treatment for acute respiratory and ear complaints was quite as effective as conventional treatment.

References

Haidvogl M et al. Homeopathic and conventional treatment for acute respiratory and ear complaints: a comparative study on outcome in the primary care setting. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine 7 : 7, 2007.

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