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Homeopathy Research

(Compiled by Peter Viksveen, European Network for Homeopathy Research ENHR. For information, please refer to www.homeopathy-ecch.eu and outside Europe, www.homeopathy-ich.org)

Respiratory tract complaints
Homeopathy versus conventional treatment in respiratory tract complaints:
In an outcome study, 30 practitioners in four countries enrolled 500 consecutive patients with at least one of three complaints: upper respiratory tract complaints including allergies; lower respiratory tract complaints including allergies; or ear complaints. Of 456 patients, 281 received homeopathy and 175 conventional treatment. The primary outcomes criterion was response to treatment, defined as cured or major improvement after 14 days of treatment. Results showed a response rate of 82.6% in the homeopathy group compared to 67.3% in the group receiving conventional medicine. The authors concluded that homeopathy appeared to be at least as effective as conventional treatment of patients with the three conditions studied.
Riley D, Fischer M, Singh B, Haidvogl M, Heger M. Homeopathy and conventional medicine: an outcomes study comparing effectiveness in a primary care setting. J Altern Complement Med 2001; 7: 149–159.

Ear complaints
Homeopathy versus conventional treatment in otitis media:
Prospective observational study, comparison of homeopathy versus conventional treatment in acute otitis media. Conclusion: homeopathy should be first line treatment in acute otitis media. Results showed median duration of pain of 2 days in the homeopathy group and 3 days in the conventional medicine group. 70.7% of the children receiving homeopathic treatment did not have another ear infection the next year and 29.3% had a maximum of three ear infections within one year. 56.5% in the conventional medicine group did not have another ear infection the next year and 43.5% had a maximum of six ear infections the next year. Results showed that in the group receiving homeopathic treatment only 5 out of 103 children needed antibiotics.
Friese K-H, Kruse S, Ludtke R, Moeller H “Homeopathic treatment of otitis media in children: comparisons with conventional therapy”. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1997; 35: 296-301.

A study involving children suffering from acute otitis media suggests that a positive treatment effect from homeopathy when compared with placebo in acute otitis media cannot be excluded. There were fewer treatment failures in the group receiving homeopathy after 5 days, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks, with differences of 11.4, 18.4, and 19.9%, respectively, but these differences were not statistically significant. Diary scores showed a significant decrease in symptoms at 24 and 64 hours after treatment in favour of homeopathy (P<0.05). The authors concluded that these results suggest that a positive treatment effect of homeopathy when compared with placebo in acute otitis media cannot be excluded and that a larger study is justified.
Jacobs J, Springer DA, Crothers D. Homeopathic treatment of acute otitis media in children: a preliminary randomized placebo-controlled trial. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2001; 20: 177–183.

In a trial of 230 children who were given homeopathic treatment to treat acute otitis media, pain control was achieved in 39% of the patients after 6 hours and another 33% after 12 hours. The resolution rates were 2.4 times faster than in placebo controls. No complications were observed and compared to conventional treatment the homeopathic approach was 14% cheaper.
Frei H, Thurneysen A. Homeopathy in acute otitis media in children: treatment effect or spontaneous resolution? Br Homeopath J 2001; 90: 180–182.

Glue ear in children:
In a pilot study of children suffering from glue ear treated with homeopathy, 75% had a normal tympanogram, compared to 31% in the group treated with conventional medicine. A higher proportion of children receiving homeopathic treatment had a hearing loss less than 20 dB at follow-up, though the difference was not statistically significant. The authors concluded that further research comparing homeopathy to standard care is warranted; 270 patients would be needed for a definitive trial.
Harrison H, Fixsen A, Vickers A. A randomized comparison of homoeopathic, standard care for the treatment of glue ear in children. Compl Therap Med 1999; 7: 132–135.

Acute sinusitis:
In a trial of 119 patients suffering from clinical signs of acute sinusitis were treated using homeopathic medicines. Typical sinusitis symptoms, such as headache, pressure pain at nerve exit points, and irritating cough, were reduced after a mean of 4.1 days of treatment. Ninety-nine received only a test medication, 20 patients were able to discontinue concomitant medication at the first visit, and only one patient needed antibiotics. Average duration of treatment was 2 weeks. At the end of treatment 81.5% described themselves as symptom free or significantly improved. No adverse drug effects were reported.
Adler M. Efficacy, safety of a fixed-combination homeopathic therapy for sinusitis. Adv Ther 1999; 16: 103–111.

Diarrhoea in children
Treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea in Nicaragua. This trial involved 81 children aged from 6 months to 5 years in a randomised, double-blind trial of intravenous fluids plus placebo versus intravenous fluids plus homeopathic remedy individualised to the patient. The treatment group had a statistically significant decrease in duration of diarrhoea.
Jacobs J. Treatment of acute childhood diarrhea with homeopathic medicine: a randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua. Pediatrics 1994; 93: 719-725.

Treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea, repeated in Nepal. In a replication of a trial carried out in Nicaragua in 1994, 116 Nepalese children aged 6 months to 5 years suffering from diarrhoea were given an individualised homoeopathic medicine or placebo. Treatment by homoeopathy showed a significant improvement in the condition in comparison to placebo.
Jacobs J., Jimenez M., Malthouse S., Chapman E., Crothers D., Masuk M., Jonas W.B., Acute Childhood Diarrhoea- A Replication., Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 6, 2000, 131-139.

A meta-analysis of childhood diarrhoea trials
This meta analysis of 242 children showed a highly significant result in the duration of childhood diarrhea (P=0.008). It should be noted that the World Health Organisation considers childhood diarrhea to be the number one public health problem today because of the millions of children who die every year from dehydration resulting from diarrhea.
J. Jacobs, WB Jonas, M Jimenez-Perez, D Crothers, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Meta-analysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials http://homeopathic.com/articles/research/diarrhea_t.php