Homeopathy for anxiety and anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the research

School of Integrated Health, University of Westminster, London, UK.
Homeopathy (Impact Factor: 0.76). 08/2006; 95(3):151-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2006.05.005
Source: PubMed


To conduct a systematic review of the clinical research evidence on homeopathy in the treatment of anxiety and anxiety disorders.
A comprehensive search of major biomedical databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, ClNAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library; and of specialist complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) databases: AMED, CISCOM and Hom-Inform was conducted. Efforts were made to identify unpublished and ongoing research using relevant sources and experts in the field. Relevant research was categorised by study type and appraised according to study design. Clinical commentaries were obtained for studies reporting clinical outcomes.
Eight randomised controlled studies were identified. The types of anxiety and anxiety disorders studied were test anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder and anxiety related to medical or physical conditions such as cancer or surgical procedures. Single case reports/studies were the most frequently encountered study type but other study types including uncontrolled trials/case series and surveys were also found. No relevant qualitative research was identified.
A comprehensive search demonstrates that the evidence on the benefit of homeopathy in anxiety and anxiety disorders is limited. A number of studies of homeopathy in such conditions were located but the randomised controlled trials report contradictory results, are underpowered or provide insufficient details of methodology. Several uncontrolled and observational studies reported positive results including high levels of patient satisfaction but because of the lack of a control group, it is difficult to assess the extent to which any response is due to homeopathy. Adverse effects reported appear limited to 'remedy reactions' and included temporary worsening of symptoms and reappearance of old symptoms. On the basis of this review it is not possible to draw firm conclusions on the efficacy or effectiveness of homeopathy for anxiety. However, surveys suggest that homeopathy is quite frequently used by people suffering from anxiety. If shown to be effective, it is possible that homeopathy may have benefits in terms of adverse effects and acceptability to patients. Consequently, further investigation is indicated. Future research should be of pragmatic design and include qualitative studies.

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Available from: Hagen Rampes, Jan 19, 2015
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    • "A systematic review located eight randomized controlled trials addressing test anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder and anxiety related to medical or physical conditions (Pilkington et al. 2006e). The trials reported contradictory results, were underpowered or provided insufficient details of methodology . "
    3rd 01/2013: chapter 29;
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    • "The practice of homeopathy (use of preparations consisting of highly diluted substances) has its roots in the 1800s in Germany where it was used to treat a range of illnesses and health disorders [16]. A systematic review by Pilkington and colleagues [32] identified eight RCTs using homeopathy to treat anxiety. Results revealed that the benefit of homeopathy in generalised anxiety and anxiety disorders is unable to be determined, as the identified studies all exhibited significant methodological issues (e.g., small samples, lack of control group). "
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    ABSTRACT: Use of complementary medicines and therapies (CAM) and modification of lifestyle factors such as physical activity, exercise, and diet are being increasingly considered as potential therapeutic options for anxiety disorders. The objective of this metareview was to examine evidence across a broad range of CAM and lifestyle interventions in the treatment of anxiety disorders. In early 2012 we conducted a literature search of PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Library, for key studies, systematic reviews, and metaanalyses in the area. Our paper found that in respect to treatment of generalized anxiety or specific disorders, CAM evidence revealed current support for the herbal medicine Kava. One isolated study shows benefit for naturopathic medicine, whereas acupuncture, yoga, and Tai chi have tentative supportive evidence, which is hampered by overall poor methodology. The breadth of evidence does not support homeopathy for treating anxiety. Strong support exists for lifestyle modifications including adoption of moderate exercise and mindfulness meditation, whereas dietary improvement, avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine offer encouraging preliminary data. In conclusion, certain lifestyle modifications and some CAMs may provide a beneficial role in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 08/2012; 2012(420):809653. DOI:10.1155/2012/809653 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Natural remedies are frequently used by people suffering from anxiety disorders, but evidence of their benefits in randomised controlled studies [30] [31] and laboratory research [18] is limited. Due to the controversial nature of homeopathic claims, it is important for any results in this field to be confirmed and consolidated through further investigations and rigorous statistical evaluation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Two previous investigations were performed to assess the activity of Gelsemium sempervirens (Gelsemium s.) in mice, using emotional response models. These two series are pooled and analysed here. Gelsemium s. in various homeopathic centesimal dilutions/dynamizations (4C, 5C, 7C, 9C, and 30C), a placebo (solvent vehicle), and the reference drugs diazepam (1 mg/kg body weight) or buspirone (5 mg/kg body weight) were delivered intraperitoneally to groups of albino CD1 mice, and their effects on animal behaviour were assessed by the light-dark (LD) choice test and the open-field (OF) exploration test. Up to 14 separate replications were carried out in fully blind and randomised conditions. Pooled analysis demonstrated highly significant effects of Gelsemium s. 5C, 7C, and 30C on the OF parameter "time spent in central area" and of Gelsemium s. 5C, 9C, and 30C on the LD parameters "time spent in lit area" and "number of light-dark transitions," without any sedative action or adverse effects on locomotion. This pooled data analysis confirms and reinforces the evidence that Gelsemium s. regulates emotional responses and behaviour of laboratory mice in a nonlinear fashion with dilution/dynamization.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 04/2012; 2012(2):954374. DOI:10.1155/2012/954374 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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