Article

Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, UK.
International Journal of Clinical Practice (Impact Factor: 2.54). 12/2012; 66(12):1178-88. DOI: 10.1111/ijcp.12026
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Aim:  The aim of this systematic review was to critically evaluate the evidence regarding the adverse effects (AEs) of homeopathy. Method:  Five electronic databases were searched to identify all relevant case reports and case series. Results:  In total, 38 primary reports met our inclusion criteria. Of those, 30 pertained to direct AEs of homeopathic remedies; and eight were related to AEs caused by the substitution of conventional medicine with homeopathy. The total number of patients who experienced AEs of homeopathy amounted to 1159. Overall, AEs ranged from mild-to-severe and included four fatalities. The most common AEs were allergic reactions and intoxications. Rhus toxidendron was the most frequently implicated homeopathic remedy. Conclusion:  Homeopathy has the potential to harm patients and consumers in both direct and indirect ways. Clinicians should be aware of its risks and advise their patients accordingly.

Full-text

Available from: Edzard Ernst, Jun 02, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
173 Views
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Resumen: El problema del acceso a los medicamentos no obedece siempre al rol cuestionable de la industria farmacéutica, como sí en gran medida a los Estados, responsables inmediatos por el abandono de millones de pacientes en los países bajo el umbral de pobreza y desarrollo. Para evidenciar esta información se plantean tres escenarios en los que las políticas públicas aún tienen una gran tarea pendiente: la ausencia de regulación y vigilancia, la permisividad con prácticas seudocientíficas y el abandono en regiones apartadas. A lo largo del texto, y a manera de conclusión, se propone un llamado de atención a los gobiernos, para que reorienten sus acciones y hagan presencia en un panorama que usualmente se deja a un lado cuando se aborda el problema del acceso a los medicamentos. Abstract: The problem of access to medicines is not usually the responsibility of pharmaceutical industry and its questionable role. The governments of developing countries, as we discuss in this article, has an important part of the responsibility for the abandonment of millions of patients who die before getting access to a treatment. To demonstrate this, we will refer to three scenarios in which public policies does not help to solve the problem: the lack of regulation and oversight; the permissiveness with pseudo-scientific practices; and the state’s abandonment in remote regions. Throughout the text, and as a conclusion, we will make a claim on governments to direct their actions towards solving the issues at hand.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Even though homeopathy is regarded as a harmless intervention, homeopathic practice may not be entirely risk-free. Risk in homeopathy can be divided into direct and indirect risk. Direct risk refers to traditional adverse effects of an intervention; indirect risk is related to adverse effects in a treatment context, e.g. the practitioner. Available data suggest that the risk profile of homeopathic remedies in ultra-molecular potencies is minor, but there is a potential for indirect risk related to homeopathic practice. The concept of 'homeopathic aggravation' which is unique for homeopathy may impose a particular risk as it allows the health status of the patients to deteriorate before there is a possible improvement. In that respect it is imperative to distinguish homeopathic aggravations from adverse effects. In a general risk evaluation of the homeopathic treatment it may be useful to assess the patient's symptoms in accordance with the natural course of disease and to evaluate any negative deviation from the normal curve as a possible adverse effect of the treatment. It is imperative that more emphasis is placed on patient safety during the education in homeopathy, and that students are trained to identify serious and red flag situations. © 2015 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.
    Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine 01/2015; 22(1):30-5. DOI:10.1159/000377644 · 1.65 Impact Factor