Homeopathy for insomnia: A systematic review of research evidence

School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, Regent Court, Sheffield, UK.
Sleep Medicine Reviews (Impact Factor: 8.51). 03/2010; 14(5):329-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2009.11.005
Source: PubMed


Insomnia is a common problem which impacts on quality of life. Current management includes psychological and behavioural therapies and/or pharmacological treatments.
To systematically review research evidence for effectiveness of homeopathy in the management of insomnia.
Comprehensive searches of biomedical databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane library, Science Citation Index), homeopathy-specific and complementary medicine-specific databases were conducted.
(A) Homeopathic medicines: four randomised controlled trials (RCTs) compared homeopathic medicines to placebo. All involved small patient numbers and were of low methodological quality. None demonstrated a statistically significant difference in outcomes between groups, although two showed a trend favouring homeopathic medicines and three demonstrated significant improvements from baseline in both groups. A cohort study reported significant improvements from baseline. (B) Treatment by a homeopath: No randomised controlled trials of treatment by a homeopath were identified. One cohort study, three case series and over 2600 case studies were identified.
The limited evidence available does not demonstrate a statistically significant effect of homeopathic medicines for insomnia treatment. Existing RCTs were of poor quality and were likely to have been underpowered. Well-conducted studies of homeopathic medicines and treatment by a homeopath are required to examine the clinical and cost effectiveness of homeopathy for insomnia.

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Available from: Clare Relton, Aug 18, 2014
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    • "It is claimed that the special style of case-taking, a different approach on how to manage conventional therapies, and specific life-style recommendations must both be considered as intrinsic parts of a homeopathic treatment. If so, randomised controlled trials on homeopathic medicines alone might be inappropriate or at least insufficient to research homeopathy as a whole [8, 9]. On this background large-scaled, uncontrolled cohort studies have been conducted which aim to assess health effects by global, patient-centered outcome measures (outcome studies). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Cohort studies have reported that patients improve considerably after individualised homeopathic treatment. However, these results may be biased by regression to the mean (RTM). Objective. To evaluate whether the observed changes in previous cohort studies are due to RTM and to estimate RTM adjusted effects. Methods. SF-36 quality-of-life (QoL) data from a German cohort of 2827 chronically diseased adults treated by a homeopath were reanalysed by Mee and Chua's modified t-test. Results. RTM adjusted effects, standardized by the respective standard deviation at baseline, were 0.12 (95% CI: 0.06-0.19, P < 0.001) in the mental and 0.25 (0.22-0.28, P < 0.001) in the physical summary score. Small-to-moderate effects were confirmed for the most individual diagnoses in physical, but not in mental component scores. Under the assumption that the true population mean equals the mean of all actually diseased patients, RTM adjusted effects were confirmed for both scores in most diagnoses. Conclusions. Changes in QoL after treatment by a homeopath are small but cannot be explained by RTM alone. As all analyses made conservative assumptions, true RTM adjusted effects are probably larger than presented.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 12/2013; 2013:612890. DOI:10.1155/2013/612890 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    Sleep Medicine Reviews 12/2010; 14(6):411. DOI:10.1016/j.smrv.2010.07.004 · 8.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To systematically review placebo-controlled randomized trials of homeopathy for psychiatric conditions. Eligible studies were identified using the following databases from database inception to April 2010: PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Hom-Inform, Cochrane CENTRAL, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine grantee publications database, and Gray literature was also searched using Google, Google Scholar, the European Committee for Homeopathy, inquiries with homeopathic experts and manufacturers, and the bibliographic lists of included published studies and reviews. Search terms were as follows: (homeopath* or homoeopath*) and (placebo or sham) and (anxiety or panic or phobia or post-traumatic stress or PTSD or obsessive-compulsive disorder or fear or depress* or dysthym* or attention deficit hyperactivity or premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual disorder or premenstrual dysphoric disorder or traumatic brain injury or fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalitis or insomnia or sleep disturbance). Searches included only English-language literature that reported randomized controlled trials in humans. Trials were included if they met 7 criteria and were assessed for possible bias using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 50 guidelines. Overall assessments were made using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation procedure. Identified studies were grouped into anxiety or stress, sleep or circadian rhythm complaints, premenstrual problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mild traumatic brain injury, and functional somatic syndromes. Twenty-five eligible studies were identified from an initial pool of 1,431. Study quality according to SIGN 50 criteria varied, with 6 assessed as good, 9 as fair, and 10 as poor. Outcome was unrelated to SIGN quality. Effect size could be calculated in 16 studies, and number needed to treat, in 10 studies. Efficacy was found for the functional somatic syndromes group (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome), but not for anxiety or stress. For other disorders, homeopathy produced mixed effects. No placebo-controlled studies of depression were identified. Meaningful safety data were lacking in the reports, but the superficial findings suggested good tolerability of homeopathy. A funnel plot in 13 studies did not support publication bias (χ(2)(1) = 1.923, P = .166). The database on studies of homeopathy and placebo in psychiatry is very limited, but results do not preclude the possibility of some benefit.
    The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 06/2011; 72(6):795-805. DOI:10.4088/JCP.10r06580 · 5.50 Impact Factor
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