The tumoricidal and antiviral effects of Staphylococcal toxins are well documented. In a preliminary study we investigated the immune modulating properties of these toxins by administering single oral doses of a 12c potency of a lysate of Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I, to 4 healthy probands and 12 HIV infected patients with clinical symptoms. We observed a decrease of circulating immune complexes in the healthy probands as well as in the HIV positive patients, accompanied in the latter by a significant increase of CD4 lymphocytes, CD4/CD8-ratio and an improvement of the HIV related symptoms. None of the dose dependent toxic effects commonly found in Staphylococcal sepsis were noticed. Further research on the immune modulating effects of potencies of bacterial superantigens is suggested, especially in view of a possible treatment for HIV infected and other immune compromised patients.
This lecture attempts to analyse the progress made by homeopathy in recent years, by analysing consumer awareness, sales and distribution trends of homeopathic products, and research publications. Sales of homeopathic medicines are growing rapidly, but remain a very small fraction of the total pharmaceutical market. The proportion of combination to single medicines varies widely between countries. The market is concentrated in a relatively small number of the available medicines; many available homeopathic medicines are never used. Regulation of homeopathic practitioners and medicines is problematic, the legal position varies between countries. The volume of research is growing steadily. A series of recommendations is made, including modernisation of the terminology of homeopathy, training of more practitioners, a defined research agenda and integration into the medical system.
The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a homeopathic complex in terms of intensity of attacks and duration of remission between attacks of genital herpes. Fifty three patients aged 18 or over with a minimum of four attacks annually were followed in this open multicentre study in a primary care setting. The principal parameters analysed were: frequency of attacks; intensity of symptoms, during treatment and/or after stopping treatment; treatment tolerance.
Eighty-two percent of patients treated for recurrent genital herpes benefited. In 41% of cases, there was no recurrence after the first treatment with follow-up of between 8 and 50 months. In 32% of patients, one or two relapses, in 9% of patients recurrences continued but with reduced frequency and intensity.
A study of the consistency of responses by allergic patients in repeated studies of the homeopathic remedy Betula 30c or placebo against birch pollen allergy, was made. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed including participants with a known allergy to birch pollen. Allergy symptoms were assessed on a visual analogue scale (VAS) by patients or parents each day during a 20-day period during two different pollen seasons. The work was carried out in Oslo, Norway during May 1995, 1996 and 1997. There were 51 patients ranging in age from 7 to 50y. The homeopathic remedy Betula 30c or placebo was given as tablets, both as a prophylactic agent, once a week for 4 weeks before the pollen season started, and as an acute remedy during the pollen season. The mean value of the symptom scores on the visual analogue scale, for all registration days from each patient was the main outcome. The patient groups that received either placebo or Betula 30c for two successive years showed a consistent response (r=0.75, P=0.01 and r=0.70, P=0.003, respectively). No such correlation was found in the two groups that changed remedy from one year to another (either from placebo to Betula or vice versa). Subjective assessment of allergic symptoms to birch pollen differed more from one year to another when different regimens (placebo or homeopathic) had been administered these two seasons, than when the same treatment had been given.
The objective of the study was to examine the effect of the homeopathic remedy Betula 30c vs placebo for patients with birch pollen allergy. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was carried out. Tablets were given for 4 weeks during the birch pollen season. The setting was Oslo, Norway, May 1995.
Patients were aged between 18 and 50 y; 32 patients received Betula 30c tablets and 34 patients received placebo tablets.
The main outcome measure was the total score of 17 different allergy symptoms. Daily total scores were calculated, as well as differences and ratios between the run-in and the following time periods. Point estimates of the median difference between the experimental and placebo groups, with their 95% confidence intervals, were the main measure of effect.
No statistically significant difference between the groups was found during the first and last period of May. However, from 8 to 18 May, a clinically interesting difference was revealed between the groups, those receiving Betula 30c having fewer and less serious symptoms. For some days these differences were statistically significant. Surprisingly, this group reported more aggravation from the tablets than did the placebo group.
With a statistical power of 70% for a defined clinically interesting difference (25%), the present results indicate that treatment with Betula 30c during the pollen season deserves further attention.
The objective of this research was to determine if the homeopathic medicine Betula 30c is more effective than placebo at reducing symptoms of pollen allergy in patients sensitive to birch pollen. It was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Tablets were given both as a prophylactic agent, once a week four weeks before the pollen season and as an acute remedy during the pollen season. The study was done in Oslo, Norway, in May 1996 and involved 73 children, adolescents and young adults from 7 to 25 y of age. Allergy-symptoms were assessed on a visual analogue scale (VAS) by patients or parents. Main outcome measure was the median (with its 95% confidence interval) of the symptom scores for all the treated patients, each day during a 10-day period. The pollen count was very low in 1996, only three days were high enough to provoke allergic symptoms. Surprisingly, the verum treated patients fared worse than the placebo group; they used more rescue medication and had higher symptom scores during these three days. Homeopaths might attribute the findings to a putative aggravation response, but the results certainly do not lend support to the usefulness of the tested prophylactic approach, under conditions of low allergen exposure.
To evaluate the efficacy of homeopathy in preventing migraine attacks and accompanying symptoms, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted. There was a one-month registration period without treatment, followed by four months individualised homeopathic treatment or identical placebo. Patients were stratified for common or classical migraine.
Seventy-three patients were randomised, 68 completed the trial. Baseline values were similar in the two groups. Both the homeopathy and placebo groups had reduction in attack frequency, pain intensity and drug consumption, with a statistically non-significant difference favouring homeopathy. Migraine diaries showed no difference between groups. The neurologists’ trial evaluation showed a statistically significant reduction in attack frequency in the homeopathy group (P=0.04) and non-statistically significant trends in favour of homeopathy for pain intensity and overall evaluation.
Further research, with improved trial design, on the possible role of homeopathy in migraine prophylaxis is justified.