Adverse drug reactions to anthroposophic and homeopathic solutions for injection: A systematic evaluation of German pharmacovigilance databases

Department Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden. .
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.94). 12/2012; 21(12). DOI: 10.1002/pds.3298
Source: PubMed


Medicinal solutions for injection are frequently applied in anthroposophic medicine and homeopathy. Despite their extensive use, there is little data published on the safety of these products. Therefore, we investigated the safety of anthroposophic and homeopathic solutions for injection through a systematic evaluation of adverse drug reactions (ADRs).

ADRs were extracted from the pharmacovigilance databases of eight German manufacturers. Analysed ADRs included case reports in humans only, (spontaneous) case reports from post-marketing surveillance, literature and clinical/safety trials.

Between 2000 and 2009, in total, 303 million ampoules for injection were sold, and 486 case reports were identified, corresponding to a total number of 1180 ADRs. Of all case reports, 71.8% (349/486) included ADRs that were listed (e.g. stated in package leaflet), and 9.5% (46/486) of the reports were classified as serious. The most frequently reported ADRs were pruritus, followed by angioedema, diarrhoea and erythema. A total of 27.3% (322/1180) were localized reactions for example; application or injection site erythema, pain, swelling and inflammation. The overall reporting rate of ADRs associated with injections was less than 4 per 1 million sold ampoules and classified as very rare.

Our systematic evaluation demonstrated that the reporting rate of ADRs associated with anthroposophic and homeopathic solutions for injection is very low. Most reported ADRs were listed, and one quarter consisted of local reactions. These findings suggest a low risk profile for solutions for injection as therapeutically applied in anthroposophic medicine and homeopathy.

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    • "In this study, adverse reactions to AM treatment were infrequent and mostly of mild-to-moderate intensity. This confirms findings from other prospective studies [7,65-68] as well as retrospective surveys [69] and pharmacovigilance databases [70]. Also, the high level of patient satisfaction with AM treatment in this study is in keeping with other studies [67,71-73]. "
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