In this article, we are going to examine a series of flu trials with the Boiron homeopathic product oscillococcinum.
Oscillococcinum is the homeopathic remedy Anas Barbariae 200C. This remedy basically consists of a combination of wild duck heart and duck liver. It is diluted in a session of 200 times. The remedy is so dilute that it pass Avagardo's number. Critics claim there is no substance to this remedy because of the high level of dilution. Oscillococcinum remedies needs only one duck to produce enough of this homeopathic remedy to supply the entire world. This remedy is extremely popular which can be found in 52 countries around the world.
Oscillococcinum is marketed as a product that can prevent the flu if taken regularly. The medicine also says that once you get the flu, taking this remedy may shorten the time that you have the flu. Several trials have been done to examine these theories.
The first trials were done by Vickers and Smith. They examined whether Oscillococcinum can prevent flu and shorten the duration of the flu compared to a placebo. Theses trials had 3 preventions trials totalling 2265 people and 4 treatment trials of 1194 people. Only 2 of these 7 trials had good enough data to finish the trial. There is no evidence that Oscillococcinum can prevent the flu from the trials. The second trial with 700 participants showed that Oscillococcinum can shorten the duration of the flu by about .28 days. This amounts to be about 7 hours.
The Vickers flu trials are the largest trials in homeopathy to date. Some other trials also came to similar conclusions with this homeopathic remedy. These other trials also examined factors such as chills, fever, stiffness and nasal discharge.
Two trials by the researcher Cassonova tested Oscillococcinum at the onset of flu like symptoms. The first trial with 100 patients tested this remedy within 48 hours of catching the flu. The homeopathic medicine group showed a reduction of chills, stiffness, fever and reported a more successful outcome. The homeopathy group showed no improvement in nasal discharge as compared with the placebo group.
In the second Cassonova trial with 300 patients, Oscillococcinum was tested upon the onset of flu like symtoms without the 48 hour waiting time. In day two, the fever was lower for the homeopathy group compared to the placebo group. By day four of treatment, the Oscillococcinum group reported fewer chills and less aches and pains then the placebo group.
Researcher Ferley with 478 patients tested Oscillococcinum within 24 hours of flu like symptoms. The results from this trial was within 48 hours, 66% greater chance of full recovery from the homeopathy group compared to the placebo group. The homeopathy group also had a more favorable opinion of the medicine as compared to the placebo group.
The final research study that we will examine in this article is by researcher Papp with 372 patients. This is a followup study to the previous study. This study examined pretty much the same criteria as the Ferly study. Twenty four hours of catching the flu, the homeopathy group showed a shorter duration of the flu and less severe symptoms as compared to the placebo group with in 48 hours.
In conclusion, Oscillococcinum shows no evidence that it can prevent people from catching the flu. Studies have shown that Oscillococcinum seems to shorten the duration of the flu. Most of the researchers in these trials say that more research with larger groups are needed to confirm that this homeopathy remedy does shorten the duration of the flu. However, many of these trials do have a fairly large amount of partcipants as the researchers have noted.
How come there have not been larger studies with Oscillococcinum? How much evidence is going to be needed before main stream medicine will accept this homeopathy remedy as being effective in treating the flu? Why are these trials not out on the news as they are readily available on the Internet? I look forward to hearing your comments.
1) Vickers A, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001957. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001957.pub3.
2) Centre de Recherche et de Documentation Technique,
University of Marseilles, France.
3) Centre de Recherche et de Documentation Technique,
University of Marseilles, France.
4) Ferley JP, Zmirou, D'Adhemar D, Balducci E,
"A Controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation
in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes".
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1989, 27; 329-335.
5) Papp R, Shuback G, Beck E, Burjard G, Bengel J,
Lehri S, Belon P
"Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza like syndromes
: a palcebo controlled double-blind evaluation."
British Homeopathic Journal. April 1998, Vol. 87, pp 69-76.