In part 1 of our series, we found that when looking at the best trials, Homeopathy performed better than a placebo on a 2 to 1 scale. However, all these trials were before 1991. We are now going to look at more modern trials.
The most recent homeopathic trials include a trial done by A Swiss-UK review of 110 trials found no convincing evidence the treatment worked any better than a placebo.
However, there seems to be many problems with this type of trial.
We are going to examine the better done trials since 1991. We will not examine all of them but look at a fair amount of promising and not so promising evidence of properly conducted homeopathic trials.
Homeopathy Trials and Information Below:
Trials when comparing Homeopathy to A Placebo
A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 242 participants aged 18 to 55 years. Trial compared an oral homeopathic treatment to placebo in asthmatic people allergic to house dust. Authors found the homeopathic treatment "no better than placebo." They noted "some differences between the homeopathic immunotherapy and placebo for which we have no explanation." This was actually an attempt to replicate a successful homeopathic trial with allergies and asthma. No one could explain why the replication was not successful. This trial was much larger than the intial trial that proved successful.
Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 126 children; 116 completed the study. Individualized homeopathic treatments improved digestive problems in children with acute childhood diarrhea. Results are consistent with findings of a previous study.
Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 519 people; 400 completed the study. Homeopathic remedies, including arnica, are not effective for muscle soreness following long-distance running.
Meta-analysis of six controlled clinical trials. Controlled clinical trials indicate that homeopathic remedies appear to work better than a placebo in studies of rheumatic syndromes, but there are too few studies to draw definitive conclusions, and efficacy results are mixed.
The most promising remedy for Homeopathy according to our research is Oscillococcinum. There were several large trials showing positive results for Oscillococcinum in shortening the duration of the flu. Oscillococcinum shows that is has no effect on prevent the flu.
Other successful trials on a smaller scale include perennial allergic rhinitis. The trials showed increased nasal flow as compared to the placebo. This was the fourth replication of this trial. It is noted the trial size was quite small.
In conclusion, more research needs to be done but some Homeopathic remedies are showing promising results in large double blinded placebo studies. Larger studies after 1991 showed approximately a 1 to 1 ratio of successful and unsucessful homeopathic trials. Better quality studies before 1991 showed approximately a 2 to 1 ratio. A couple of the trials have been reproduced in several studies. Oscillococcinum was the only study that we found was reproduced several times by different researches.
Vickers and Smith, 2002 Review of Oscillococcinum on flu symptoms
Lewith et al., 2002 Asthmatic People Allergic To House Dust
Jacobs et al., 2000 Acute Childhood Diarrhea
Vickers et al., 1998 Muscle Soreness
Jonas et al., 2000 Studies Of Rheumatic Syndromes
Papp et al, 1998 Oscillococcinum Onset of Flu Like Symtoms
Taylor et al., 2000 Perennial Allergic Rhinitis