BRITISH HOMEOPATHIC ASSOCIATION (GB) - RESEARCH

There is a substantial and growing body of published research in good quality peer-reviewed journals showing that homeopathy has a positive effect.

This section of the website gives you a straightforward introduction to the kinds of evidence that exist for homeopathy and the range of conditions with positive evidence.

More research needed


Homeopathic research is still in its infancy. The body of evidence that exists shows that much more investigation is required - 44% of all the randomised controlled trials carried out have been positive, 8% negative and 48% inconclusive. Unfortunately, homeopathy does not attract large amounts of funding. More funding is required to conduct high quality trials using suitable research methods.

For a more in-depth review of the entire evidence base, including the negative and inconclusive trials, visit the research section of the Faculty of Homeopathy website.

http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/research/


The Research Evidence Base for Homeopathy

Systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy
• Four of five major comprehensive reviews of RCTs in homeopathy have reached broadly positive conclusions.1,2,3,4 Based on a smaller selection of trials, a fifth review came to a negative conclusion about homeopathy.5
• Positive conclusions have been reported in 9 of 23 reviews of RCTs in specific categories of medical condition (the other 14 are largely inconclusive):
• allergies and upper respiratory tract infections6
• childhood diarrhoea7
• influenza treatment 8
• post-operative ileus9
• rheumatic diseases10
• seasonal allergic rhinitis11,12,13
• vertigo.14


RCTs of homeopathy – the original peer-reviewed research literature
• Up to the end of 2009, 142 RCTs had been published: 63 positive; 11 negative; 68 not statistically conclusive. In addition to the above seven conditions, there is positive evidence from two or more RCTs in each of the following three areas:
• fibromyalgia15,16,17
• osteoarthritis18,19
• sinusitis.20,21
• There is evidence from single RCTs (not refuted elsewhere) in favour of homeopathy for a
number of other conditions, including: acute otitis media,22 ankle sprain,23 bronchitis,24 chronic
fatigue,25 premenstrual syndrome.26


Cost effectiveness of homeopathy
• Integration of homeopathy with conventional treatment is associated with better clinical outcomes for similar or lower costs.27,28,29


Clinical observational studies
• 70.7% of 6,544 follow-up patients, treated at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital for a wide range of chronic medical complaints, reported positive health changes.30
• Many patients attending the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital were able to reduce or stop conventional medication following homeopathic treatment.31


Basic Science
• Laboratory research has obtained evidence that water may retain information about homeopathically-prepared solutes.32,33,34
• Additional laboratory studies have shown that homeopathic dilutions can exert biological effects.e.g. 35,36,37

References
1. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G. Clinical trials of homeopathy.
Br Med J 1991; 302: 316–23.
2. Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, et al. Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials. Lancet 1997; 350: 834–43.
3. Linde K, Scholz M, Ramirez G, et al. Impact of study quality on outcome in placebo controlled trials of homeopathy. J Clin Epidemiol 1999; 52: 631–6.
4. Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP. Evidence of clinical efficacy of homeopathy – A meta-analysis of clinical trials. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2000; 56: 27–33.
5. Shang A, Huwiler-Muntener K, Nartey L, et al. Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy. Lancet 2005; 366: 726–32.
6. Bornhöft G, Wolf U, Ammon K, et al. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment. Forsch                                                                                                           Komplementärmed 2006; 13 Suppl 2: 19–29.
7. Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D. Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: combined results and metaanalysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2003; 22: 229–34.
8. Vickers A, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 2006; CD001957.
9. Barnes J, Resch K-L, Ernst E. Homeopathy for postoperative ileus? A meta-analysis. J Clin Gastroenterol 1997; 25: 628–33.
10. Jonas WB, Linde K, Ramirez G. Homeopathy and rheumatic disease – Complementary and alternative therapies for rheumatic diseases II. Rheum Dis Clin North Am 2000; 26: 117–23.
11. Wiesenauer M, Lüdtke R. A meta-analysis of the homeopathic treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca. Forsch                                                                  Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkd 1996; 3: 230–6.
12. Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, et al. Randomised controlled trials of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series.
Br Med J 2000; 321: 471–6.
13. Bellavite P, Ortolani R, Pontarollo F, et al. Immunology and homeopathy. 4. Clinical studies – Part 2. eCAM 2006;3: 397–409.
14. Schneider B, Klein P, Weiser M. Treatment of vertigo with a homeopathic complex remedy compared with usual treatments: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Arzneimittelforschung 2005;55: 23–9.
15. Fisher P. An experimental double-blind clinical trial method in homoeopathy. Use of a limited range of remedies to treat fibrositis. BrHomeopath J 1986; 75: 142–7.
16. Bell I, Lewis D, Brooks A, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo. Rheumatology 2004; 43: 577–82.
17. Relton C, Smith C, Raw J, et al. Healthcare provided by a homeopath as an adjunct to usual care for fibromyalgia (FMS): results of a pilot randomised controlled trial. Homeopathy 2009;98: 77–82.
18. Shealy CN, Thomlinson RP, Cox RH, Borgmeyer RN. Osteoarthritic pain: a comparison of homeopathy and acetaminophen. Am J Pain Manage 1998; 8: 89–91.
19. van Haselen RA, Fisher PAG. A randomized controlled trial comparing topical piroxicam gel with a homeopathic gel in osteoarthritis of the knee. Rheumatology 2000; 39: 714–9.
20. Friese K-H, Zabalotnyi DI. Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis. A double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the effectiveness and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy. HNO 2007; 55: 271–7.
21. Zabolotnyi DI, Kneis KC, Richardson A, et al. Efficacy of a complex homeopathic medication (Sinfrontal) in patients with acute maxillary sinusitis: a prospective, randomized, doubleblind,placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Explore (NY) 2007; 3: 98–109.
22. 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; 20:177–83.
23. Zell J, Connert WD, Mau J, Feuerstake G. Treatment of acute sprains of the ankle. Controlled double-blind trial to test the effectiveness of a homeopathic ointment. Fortschr Med 1988;106: 96–100.
24. Diefenbach M, Schilken J, Steiner G, Becker HJ. Homeopathic therapy in respiratory tract diseases. Evaluation of a clinical study in 258 patients. Z Allgemeinmed 1997; 73: 308–14.
25. Weatherley-Jones E, Nicholl JP, Thomas KJ, et al. A randomized, controlled, triple-blind trial of the efficacy of homeopathic treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. J Psychosom Res 2004;56: 189–97.
26. Yakir M, Kreitler S, Brzezinski A, et al. Effects of homeopathic treatment in women with premenstrual syndrome: a pilot study. Br Homeopath J 2001; 90: 148–53.
27. Witt C, Keil T, Selim D, et al. Outcome and costs of homeopathic and conventional treatment strategies: a comparative cohort study in patients with chronic disorders. Complement Ther Med 2005; 13: 79–86.
28. Witt CM, Lüdtke R, Baur R, Willich SN. Homeopathic medical practice: long-term results of a cohort study with 3,981 patients. BMC Public Health 2005; 5: 115.
29. Trichard M, Chaufferin G Nicoloyannis N. Pharmacoeconomic comparison between homeopathic and antibiotic treatment strategies in recurrent acute rhinopharyngitis in children. Homeopathy 2005; 94: 3–9.
30. Spence D, Thompson E, Barron S. Homeopathic treatment for chronic disease: a 6-year university hospital based outpatient observational study. J Altern Complement Med 2005;5: 793–8.
31. Sharples F, van Haselen R, Fisher P. NHS patients’ perspective on complementary medicine. Complement Ther Med 2003;11: 243–8.
32. Rey L. Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride, Physica (A) 2003; 323: 67–74.
33. Bell IR, Lewis DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Gas discharge visualisation evaluation of ultramolecular doses of homeopathic medicines under blinded, controlled conditions. J Altern Complement Med 2003; 9: 25–38.
34. Elia V, Niccoli M. Thermodynamics of extremely diluted aqueous solutions. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1999; 879: 241–8.
35. Linde K, Jonas WB, Melchart D, et al. Critical review and meta-analysis of serial agitated dilutions in experimental toxicology. Hum Exp Toxicol 1994; 13: 481–92.
36. Belon P, Cumps J, Ennis M, et al. Histamine dilutions modulate basophil activation. Inflamm Res 2004; 53: 181–8.
37. Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, et al. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies – A systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med 2007; 15: 128–38

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