Research: THOMPSON and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 125

Abstract

THOMPSON and co-workers, Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, Bristol, UK, have carried out a pilot study of homeopathy for the symptoms of oestrogen withdrawal in breast cancer survivors.

Background

The aim of the study was to pilot an investigation of individualized homeopathy for symptoms of oestrogen withdrawal in breast cancer survivors.

Methodology

In this randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, 53 women were randomized to the study. After 2 weeks of baseline assessment, all participants received a consultation plus either oral homeopathic medicine or placebo, assessed every 4 weeks for 16 weeks. The primary outcome measures were the activity score and profile score of the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile.

Results

85% of women completed the study. There was no evidence of a difference seen between groups for either activity (adjusted difference =-0.4, p = 0.17) or profile scores (adjusted difference = -0.4, p = 0.13) using this trial design, although post hoc power calculations suggests that a much larger number of women (65-175 per group) would be needed to detect differences of this magnitude with sufficient precision. Clinically relevant improvements in symptoms and mood disturbance were seen for both groups over the study period.

Conclusion

Improvements were seen for symptom scores over the study period. However, presuming these improvements were caused by the individualized homeopathic approach, the study failed to show clearly that the specific effect of the remedy added further to the nonspecific effects of the consultation.

References

Thompson EA, Montgomery A, Douglas D, Reilly D. A pilot, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of individualized homeopathy for symptoms of estrogen withdrawal in breast-cancer survivors. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 11 (1): 13-20, Feb 2005.

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