Efficacy of homeopathic Arnica: A systematic review of placebo- controlled clinical trials

Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, England, United Kingdom.
Archives of Surgery (Impact Factor: 4.93). 12/1998; 133(11):1187-90.
Source: PubMed


The efficacy of homeopathic remedies has remained controversial. The homeopathic remedy most frequently studied in placebo-controlled clinical trials is Arnica montana.
To systematically review the clinical efficacy of homeopathic arnica.
Computerized literature searches were performed to retrieve all placebo-controlled studies on the subject. The following databases were searched: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CISCOM, and the Cochrane Library. Data were extracted in a predefined, standardized fashion independently by both authors. There were no restrictions on the language of publications.
Eight trials fulfilled all inclusion criteria. Most related to conditions associated with tissue trauma. Most of these studies were burdened with severe methodological flaws. On balance, they do not suggest that homeopathic arnica is more efficacious than placebo.
The claim that homeopathic arnica is efficacious beyond a placebo effect is not supported by rigorous clinical trials.

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    • "Meta-analyses of clinical trials that disregarded therapeutic individualization [14] [15] [16] and prescribed one and the same remedy to several patients suffering from a same disease did not show significant results. "
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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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    • "Complementary and alternative therapies are increasingly been used in a variety of clinical conditions with successful results [5] [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nephrotic syndrome is a chronic clinical condition and drugs used in its treatment may result in severe side-effects. Renal transplantation or renal ablation and subsequent chronic dialysis treatment may be the only feasible way to patients. The present article reports the case of a 23-years-old white woman that presented nephrotic syndrome and was successfully treated with homeopathic medicines. Six kind of homeopathic diagnoses were made to build the clinical homeopathic picture of the patient and to determine the appropriate medicines, according to the clinical protocol used. Apis mellifica was the main medicine used to treat the diathesis sycosis. The satisfactory treatment outcome shows that the judicious homeopathic therapeutic may be a valuable resource in the treatment of nephrotic syndrome.
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    • "Some of the articles use relatively strong language to make the point. For example, Ernst and Pittler suggest that it is the use of "highly diluted material that overtly flies in the face of science and has caused homeopathy to be regarded as placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst" [10]. Others merely raise the point that there are scientific issues associated with homeopathy and then provide an opposing perspective. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the public sector is reflected in the scientific community by an increased number of research articles assessing its therapeutic effects. Some suggest that publication biases occur in mainstream medicine, and may also occur in CAM. Homeopathy is one of the most widespread and most controversial forms of CAM. The purpose of this study was to compare the representation of homeopathic clinical trials published in traditional science and CAM journals. Methods Literature searches were performed using Medline (PubMed), AMED and Embase computer databases. Search terms included "homeo-pathy, -path, and -pathic" and "clinical" and "trial". All articles published in English over the past 10 years were included. Our search yielded 251 articles overall, of which 46 systematically examined the efficacy of homeopathic treatment. We categorized the overall results of each paper as having either "positive" or "negative" outcomes depending upon the reported effects of homeopathy. We also examined and compared 15 meta-analyses and review articles on homeopathy to ensure our collection of clinical trials was reasonably comprehensive. These articles were found by inserting the term "review" instead of "clinical" and "trial". Results Forty-six peer-reviewed articles published in a total of 23 different journals were compared (26 in CAM journals and 20 in conventional journals). Of those in conventional journals, 69% reported negative findings compared to only 30% in CAM journals. Very few articles were found to be presented in a "negative" tone, and most were presented using "neutral" or unbiased language. Conclusion A considerable difference exists between the number of clinical trials showing positive results published in CAM journals compared with traditional journals. We found only 30% of those articles published in CAM journals presented negative findings, whereas over twice that amount were published in traditional journals. These results suggest a publication bias against homeopathy exists in mainstream journals. Conversely, the same type of publication bias does not appear to exist between review and meta-analysis articles published in the two types of journals.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 02/2008; 8(1):31. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-8-31 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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