Homeopathy for childhood diarrhea: Combined results and metaanalysis from three randomized, controlled clinical trials

Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (Impact Factor: 2.72). 04/2003; 22(3):229-34. DOI: 10.1097/01.inf.0000055096.25724.48
Source: PubMed


Previous studies have shown a positive treatment effect of individualized homeopathic treatment for acute childhood diarrhea, but sample sizes were small and results were just at or near the level of statistical significance. Because all three studies followed the same basic study design, the combined data from these three studies were analyzed to obtain greater statistical power.
Three double blind clinical trials of diarrhea in 242 children ages 6 months to 5 years were analyzed as 1 group. Children were randomized to receive either an individualized homeopathic medicine or placebo to be taken as a single dose after each unformed stool for 5 days. Parents recorded daily stools on diary cards, and health workers made home visits daily to monitor children. The duration of diarrhea was defined as the time until there were less than 3 unformed stools per day for 2 consecutive days. A metaanalysis of the effect-size difference of the three studies was also conducted.
Combined analysis shows a duration of diarrhea of 3.3 days in the homeopathy group compared with 4.1 in the placebo group (P = 0.008). The metaanalysis shows a consistent effect-size difference of approximately 0.66 day (P = 0.008).
The results from these studies confirm that individualized homeopathic treatment decreases the duration of acute childhood diarrhea and suggest that larger sample sizes be used in future homeopathic research to ensure adequate statistical power. Homeopathy should be considered for use as an adjunct to oral rehydration for this illness.

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    • "Noticeably, a meta-analysis of 3 RCTs of homeopathy in epidemics of childhood diarrhea [20] showed that individualized homeopathic treatment was significantly more efficacy than placebo. Moreover, a RCT carried out by the same authors showed that non individualized homeopathic treatment (complex or association of 5 homeopathic medicines commonly used in the treatment of childhood diarrhea), dismissing the symptoms of the epidemic genius, showed no significant response when compared to placebo. "
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    ABSTRACT: By applying the principle of therapeutic similarity, homeopathy seeks to stimulate the organism to react against its own disturbs. For homeopathic medicines to awaken effective homeostasis responses they must be individualized, this means that they must be chosen according to their similarity to the set of characteristic symptoms in patients. In this way, by aiming at decreasing individual susceptibility predisposing to disease, homeopathic medicines have healing and preventive effects in many human illnesses. On the other hand, homeopathic medicines may have specific indications in the treatment and prevention of epidemic diseases provided they are also chosen according to the particular set of symptoms peculiar to a given epidemic, viz. the so-called “epidemic genius”, as historical examples show. This update paper discusses the epistemological foundations of Hahnemann’s homeopathy as a preventive medical approach, the scientific evidences supporting its clinical application and the minimum requirements to employ it both therapeutically and preventively in epidemics.
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    • "Meta-analyses of placebo controlled trials on homeopathy have shown inconsistent results [7-9]. However, there is only little data on the effectiveness and patients' satisfaction of homeopathic health care in everyday practice. "
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    ABSTRACT: Homeopathy is a highly debated but often used medical treatment. With this cohort study we aimed to evaluate health status changes under homeopathic treatment in routine care. Here we extend former results, now presenting data of an 8-year follow-up. In a prospective, multicentre cohort study with 103 homeopathic primary care practices in Germany and Switzerland, data from all patients (age >1 year) consulting the physician for the first time were observed. The main outcome measures were: The patients' perceived change in complaint severity (numeric rating scales from 0 = no complaint to 10 = maximal severity) and quality of life as measured by the SF-36 at baseline, and after 2 and 8 years. A total of 3,709 patients were studied, 73% (2,722 adults, 72.8% female, age at baseline 41.0 +/- 12.3; 819 children, 48.4% female, age 6.5 +/- 4.0) contributed data to the 8-year follow-up. The most frequent diagnoses were allergic rhinitis and headache in adults, and atopic dermatitis and multiple recurrent infections in children. Disease severity decreased significantly (p < 0.001) between baseline, 2 and 8 years (adults from 6.2 +/- 1.7 to 2.9 +/- 2.2 and 2.7 +/- 2.1; children from 6.1 +/- 1.8 to 2.1 +/- 2.0 and 1.7 +/- 1.9). Physical and mental quality of life sores also increased considerably. Younger age, female gender and more severe disease at baseline were factors predictive of better therapeutic success. Patients who seek homeopathic treatment are likely to improve considerably. These effects persist for as long as 8 years.
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