Homeopathic medical practice: Long-Term Results of a cohort study with 3981 patients

Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, D-10098 Berlin, Germany.
BMC Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.26). 11/2005; 5(1):115. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-5-115
Source: PubMed


On the range of diagnoses, course of treatment, and long-term outcome in patients who chose to receive homeopathic medical treatment very little is known. We investigated homeopathic practice in an industrialized country under everyday conditions.
In a prospective, multicentre cohort study with 103 primary care practices with additional specialisation in homeopathy in Germany and Switzerland, data from all patients (age > 1 year) consulting the physician for the first time were observed. The main outcome measures were: Patient and physician assessments (numeric rating scales from 0 to 10) and quality of life at baseline, and after 3, 12, and 24 months.
A total of 3,981 patients were studied including 2,851 adults (29% men, mean age 42.5 +/- 13.1 years; 71% women, 39.9 +/- 12.4 years) and 1,130 children (52% boys, 6.5 +/- 3.9 years; 48% girls, 7.0 +/- 4.3 years). Ninety-seven percent of all diagnoses were chronic with an average duration of 8.8 +/- 8 years. The most frequent diagnoses were allergic rhinitis in men, headache in women, and atopic dermatitis in children. Disease severity decreased significantly (p < 0.001) between baseline and 24 months (adults from 6.2 +/- 1.7 to 3.0 +/- 2.2; children from 6.1 +/- 1.8 to 2.2 +/- 1.9). Physicians' assessments yielded similar results. For adults and young children, major improvements were observed for quality of life, whereas no changes were seen in adolescents. Younger age and more severe disease at baseline were factors predictive of better therapeutic success.
Disease severity and quality of life demonstrated marked and sustained improvements following homeopathic treatment period. Our findings indicate that homeopathic medical therapy may play a beneficial role in the long-term care of patients with chronic diseases.

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    • "In this paper we adopted Mee and Chua's procedure (and its recently published graphical extension [15]) to estimate whether the observed changes in homeopathic outcome studies are due to RTM. Special interest is laid on the outcome study by Witt et al. which found that health related quality of life (QoL) in chronically diseased patients improved substantially after starting treatment by a homeopath [10]. "
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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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    • "Results from a multi-center observational study with 3981 patients treated with classical homeopathy indicate clinically relevant improvements in the mental aspects of quality of life, after two and eight years of treatment observation [16]. However, it is not clear whether these results can be attributed to the homeopathic treatment itself, or are due to other factors or just placebo effects since the study had no control group. "
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