Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial

Universität Bern, Berna, Bern, Switzerland
European Journal of Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 1.89). 12/2005; 164(12):758-67. DOI: 10.1007/s00431-005-1735-7
Source: PubMed


An increasing number of parents turn to homeopathy for treatment of their hyperactive child. Two publications, a randomised, partially blinded trial and a clinical observation study, conclude that homeopathy has positive effects in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The aim of this study was to obtain scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in ADHD. A total of 83 children aged 6-16 years, with ADHD diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria, were recruited. Prior to the randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover study, they were treated with individually prescribed homeopathic medications. 62 patients, who achieved an improvement of 50% in the Conners' Global Index (CGI), participated in the trial. Thirteen patients did not fulfill this eligibility criterion (CGI). The responders were split into two groups and received either verum for 6 weeks followed by placebo for 6 weeks (arm A), or vice-versa (arm B). At the beginning of the trial and after each crossover period, parents reported the CGI and patients underwent neuropsychological testing. The CGI rating was evaluated again at the end of each crossover period and twice in long-term follow-up. At entry to the crossover trial, cognitive performance such as visual global perception, impulsivity and divided attention, had improved significantly under open label treatment (P<0.0001). During the crossover trial, CGI parent-ratings were significantly lower under verum (average 1.67 points) than under placebo (P =0.0479). Long-term CGI improvement reached 12 points (63%, P <0.0001). CONCLUSION: The trial suggests scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in the areas of behavioural and cognitive functions.

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    • "We conducted a search up to 3 April 2012 which identified 2,785 unique records of which 2,723 were screened out on the basis of the title and abstract. On the remaining 63, 20 were not about ADHD or did not have an ADHD-related outcome, 12 were not RCTs, 14 were not 'other supplements' as defined in the protocol, including two trials of personalized homoeopathy (Frei, Everts, & von Ammon, 2005; Jacobs, Williams, Girard, Njike, & Katz, 2005) and one trial of liothyronine (L-T-3) on children with ADHD and resistance to thyroid hormone (Weiss, Stein, & Refetoff, 1997), four in which supplements were adjuncts to other treatments, and one which included patients who were too old. Thus 11 trials were identified that investigated the effects of food supplements other than FFA that met the inclusion criteria. "
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    ABSTRACT: The efficacy of three dietary treatments for ADHD has been repeatedly tested in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). These interventions are restricted elimination diets (RED), artificial food colour elimination (AFCE) and supplementation with free fatty acids (SFFA). There have been three systematic reviews and associated meta-analyses of the RCTs for each of these treatments. The aim of this review is to critically appraise the studies on the dietary treatments of ADHD, to compare the various meta-analyses of their efficacy that have been published and to identify where the design of such RCTs could be improved and where further investigations are needed. The meta-analyses differ in the inclusion and exclusion criteria applied to potentially eligible studies. The range of average effect sizes in standard deviation units is RED (0.29-1.2), AFCE (0.18-0.42) and SFFA (0.17-0.31). The methodology of many of the trials on which the meta-analyses are based is weak. Nevertheless, there is evidence from well-conducted studies for a small effect of SFFA. Restricted elimination diets may be beneficial, but large-scale studies are needed on unselected children, using blind assessment and including assessment of long-term outcome. Artificial food colour elimination is a potentially valuable treatment but its effect size remains uncertain, as does the type of child for whom it is likely to be efficacious. There are additional dietary supplements that have been used with children with ADHD. A systematic search identified 11 RCTs that investigated the effects of these food supplements. Despite positive results for some individual trials, more studies are required before conclusions can be reached on the value in reducing ADHD symptoms of any of these additional supplements.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 02/2014; 55(5). DOI:10.1111/jcpp.12215 · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    • "There was no evidence that homeopathic treatment was effective in reducing symptoms as reported on parent-completed behavioral rating scales or cognitive tasks [42]. Frei and colleagues, who conducted one of the trials, raised questions about the adequacy of evaluating outcomes based only on several months of treatment [43]. They noted that homeopathic treatments required an average of 6 1/2 months to reduce symptoms by 50%. "
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    ABSTRACT: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), characterized by impulsivity, distractibility, and inattention, has an estimated pediatric population prevalence of 6-8%. Family physicians and pediatricians evaluate and treat the majority of children with this condition. The evidence-based treatment of choice for ADHD, stimulant medication, continues to be a source of public controversy. Surveys suggest that among parents of children with ADHD, there is considerable interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). These therapies include herbal preparations, mineral supplements, sugar restriction, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other AD/HD therapies include neuro-feedback, cognitive training, mindfulness meditation, and exposure to "green space." In order to assist physicians and mental health professionals in responding to patient and parent queries, this paper briefly describes these CAM therapies and current research regarding their effectiveness. While investigations in this area are hampered by research design issues such as sample size and the absence of double-blind placebo-controlled trials, there is some evidence that omega three fatty acids, zinc supplements, and neuro-feedback may have some efficacy.
    12/2012; 2012:804127. DOI:10.5402/2012/804127
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    • "We have published a Cochrane Library review of homeopathy for ADHD and HKD [1]. The review identified four randomized or quasi-randomized placebo-controlled trials [2-5] that used behavioural rating scales, three of which also used subscales of the Conners test [6]. Of the four studies, three used individualized ‘classical’ homeopathy and substantial differences in prescribing methods between trials and conflicting results make this group of studies hard to interpret [7,8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Difficulty in controlling attention can lead to mental fatigue in the healthy population. We identified one trial reporting a benefit in patients' attention using a homeopathic formula preparation. One component of the preparation was potassium phosphate, widely available off the shelf as Kali phos 6x for cognitive problems. The aim of this exploratory trial was to assess the effectiveness of Kali phos 6x for attention problems associated with mental fatigue. Methods: We recruited student and staff volunteers (University of York) with self-reported mental fatigue, excluding any using homeopathy or prescribed stimulants, or with a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. In a triple blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 86 volunteers were randomized to receive Kali phos 6x or identical placebo 10 minutes before taking a psychological test of attention (Stroop Colour-Word Test). One week later they were crossed over and took the other preparation before repeating the test. Results: We found no evidence of a treatment effect in a comparison of Kali phos 6x with placebo (Kali phos minus placebo = -1.1 (95% CI -3.0 to 0.9, P = 0.3) Stroop score units, Cohen effect size = -0.17) even when allowing for a weak period effect with accuracy scores in the second period being higher than those in the first (P = 0.05). We observed a ceiling effect in the Stroop test which undermined our ability to interpret this result. Conclusions: Kali phos 6x was not found to be effective in reducing mental fatigue. A ceiling effect in our primary outcome measure meant that we could not rule out a type II error. Thorough piloting of an adequate outcome measure could have led to an unequivocal result. CURRENT CONTROLLED TRIALS: ISRCTN16521161.
    BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 10/2012; 12(1):167. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-12-167 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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