|Date||Thursday, July 31, 2008|
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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
The word homeopathy is derived from the Greek words for like (homoios) and suffering (pathos). With the law of similars, Hahnemann theorized that if a large amount of a substance causes certain symptoms in a healthy person, smaller amounts of the same substance can treat those symptoms in someone who is ill. The basis of his theory took shape after a strong dose of the malaria treatment quinine caused his healthy body to develop symptoms similar to ones caused by the disease. He continued to test his theory on himself as well as family and friends with different herbs, minerals and other substances. He called these experiments "provings."
But, as might be expected, the intensity of the symptoms caused by the original proving was harrowing. So Hahnemann began decreasing the doses to see how little of a substance could still produce signs of healing.
With the minimum dose, or law of infinitesimals, Hahnemann believed that a substance's strength and effectiveness increased the more it was diluted. Minuscule doses were prepared by repeatedly diluting the active ingredient by factors of 10. A "6X" preparation (the X is the Roman numeral for 10) is a 1-to-10 dilution repeated six times, leaving the active ingredient as one part per million. Essential to the process of increasing potency while decreasing the actual amount of the active ingredient is vigorous shaking after each dilution.
Some homeopathic remedies are so dilute, no molecules of the healing substance remain. Even with sophisticated technology now available, analytical chemists may find it difficult or impossible to identify any active ingredient. But the homeopathic belief is that the substance has left its imprint or a spirit-like essence that stimulates the body to heal itself.
Critics of homeopathy point out that no way such a dilute medicine could work. People are feeling better because of the placebo effect. Critics also say the research in homeopathy is very unimpressive. Proponents of homeopathy point out to numerous trials that have been successful.
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.
The University of Limberg investigators, who are all epidemiologists, conducted an exhaustive search of the published medical literature to find evidence of homeopathy's efficacy regardless of implausibility. They found an astonishing 107 controlled studies. Many of them compared a homeopathic remedy with a placebo. While some studies were well designed, the investigators found that the methods used in the majority left much to be desired. But their findings were favorable enough toward homeopathy to suggest further evaluation: "Of the better studies, 15 trials showed positive results whereas in seven trials no positive effect could be detected (in one trial only homeopathic treatments were compared with each other)."
They used strict criteria for the selection of the best trials. Highest marks went to the studies with these characteristics: a large number of participants, double blinding (neither physicians nor participants know who is receiving the homeopathic remedy), a placebo that was described as indistinguished from the homeopathic remedy, and random assignment of participants to a treatment group.
All in all, the University of Limberg investigators found that number of published studies to be impressive. "The amount of positive evidence even among the best studies came as a surprise to us." But they acknowledged that many questions remain. Chief among them is a plausible explanation for how homeopathic remedies work.
The article that quoted the homeopathic studies is a 1991 article. All homeopathic trials examined were before 1991. In part 2 of Homepathy: Proven Medicine or A Placebo we will look at more recent trials and guage those results.
Here are some interesting links that I have found through out the week.
The homeopathic remedy software seems much more advanced than other homeopathic remedy software that I have seen. Keep in mind this software is not a replacement for a doctor. It just helps people get a general idea of where to start when they have a symptom and are looking for homeopathic solution.
The article pretty much just states that the remedy Zicam is not really labeled homeopathic. It is pretty much put besides other hay fever relef medicine. The homeopathic label is on the medicine. Interesting that consumer report shows only one large unsuccessful homeopathic trial with in this article that was fundamentally flawed to begin with as you can read below.http://www.trusthomeopathy.org/csArticles/articles/000000/000060.htm
European Journal of Pediatrics
This article states that homeopathy was successful in treating kids wth ADHD. Critics point to the fact that the size of these trials are too small to state the homeopathy is effective in treating kids with ADHD. A larger study needs to be completed.
This article is how to deal with allergies as they come on.
The homeopathic treatments are toward the bottom of the article. No specific homeopathic allergy remedies are listed due to the fact homeopathic remedies can vary depending on the region you live in
This article tells people how to deal with Poison Ivy. Best suggestion is do not get it in the first place.http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008805070327
The article states the best homeopathic poison ivy remedy is Rhus toxicodendron 12C or 30C. Dosage is three pellets dissolved under the tongue every 30 minutes until the symptoms subside, and then every two to four hours until symptoms are gone.
Have a great Friday and enjoy the weekend.