Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy - Science and Technology Committee Contents


Supplementary memorandum submitted by the British Homeopathic Association

NOTES ON DRAFT TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE SESSION OF 25 NOVEMBER 2009

Q112

  As regards systematic reviews of homeopathy showing a specific homeopathic medicine has efficacy beyond that of placebo, more precise examples are seasonal allergic rhinitis and post-operative ileus. The previously cited example of vertigo relates actually to comparison with usual care, not with placebo.

Q123

  Out of the 142 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in total, there are 55 in which the homeopathic medicine was not diluted beyond the point (ie potency 12C and above) where its molecular content is uncertain. Of those 55, there are 38 RCTs with sample size H50 subjects; 18 of those RCTs were non-conclusive or negative; the remaining 20 RCTs were positive—see Table 1 below.

Table 1

PUBLISHED RCTs WITH POSITIVE FINDINGS, POTENCY <, SAMPLE SIZE N >50, INDICATING STATISTICAL POWER STATUS AND NATURE OF CONTROL GROUP (PLACEBO, P/OTHER THAN PLACEBO, OTP)
Medical condition Journal referenceN PoweredP/OTP
1 Ankle sprainZell J, Connert W D, Mau J, Feuerstake G (1988). [Treatment of acute sprains of the ankle. Controlled double-blind trial to test the effectiveness of a homeopathic ointment]. Fortschritte der Medizin, 106: 96-100. 69YesP
2 BronchitisDiefenbach M, Schilken J, Steiner G, Becker H J (1997). [Homeopathic therapy in respiratory tract diseases. Evaluation of a clinical study in 258 patients]. Zeitschrift fr Allgemeinmedizin, 73: 308-314. 209NoP
3 Common coldMaiwald V L, Weinfurtner T, Mau J, Connert W D (1988). [Treatment of common cold with a combination homeopathic preparation compared with acetylsalicylic acid. A controlled, randomized single-blind study]. Arzneimittelforschung, 38: 578-582. 115YesOTP
4 CoughBordes L R, Dorfman P (1986). [Evaluation of the antitussive effect of Drosetux syrup: double-blind study versus placebo]. Cahiers d'ORL, 21: 731-734. 60NoP
5 Influenza (prevention)Brydak L B, Denys A (1999). The evaluation of humoral response and the clinical evaluation of a risk-group patients' state of health after administration of the homeopathic preparation Gripp-Heel during the influenza epidemic season 1993/94. International Review of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 5:223-227. 124NoP
6 Irritable bowel syndromeRahlfs V W, Mssinger P (1978). [Asa foetida in the treatment of the irritable colon—a double-blind trial]. Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift, 104: 140-143. 89NoP
7 Low back painStam C, Bonnet M S, van Haselen R A (2001). The efficacy and safety of a homeopathic gel in the treatment of acute low back pain: a multi-centre, randomized, double-blind comparative clinical trial. British Homeopathic Journal, 90: 21-28. 155NoOTP
8 ObesityWerk W, Lehmann M, Galland F (1994). [Comparative controlled trial on the effect of the homeopathic botanical medicinal product Helianthus tuberosus D1 as an adjuvant in the treatment of obesity]. Therapiewoche, 44: 34-39. 102NoP
9 OsteoarthritisShealy C N, Thomlinson R P, Cox R H, Borgmeyer R N (1998). Osteoarthritic pain: a comparison of homeopathy and acetaminophen. American Journal of Pain Management, 8: 89-91. 65NoOTP
10 Osteoarthritisvan Haselen R A, Fisher P A G (2000). A randomized controlled trial comparing topical piroxicam gel with a homeopathic gel in osteoarthritis of the knee. Rheumatology, 39: 714-719. 172NoOTP
11 Post-operative wound healingKarow J-H, Abt H-P, Frhling M, Ackermann H (2008). Efficacy of Arnica montana D4 for healing of wounds after Hallux valgus surgery compared to diclofenac. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14: 17-25. 88NoOTP
12 Postpartum lactationBerrebi A, Parant O, Ferval F, et al (2001). [Treatment of pain due to unwanted lactation with a homeopathic preparation given in the immediate post-partum period]. Journal de gynécologie, obstétrique et biologie de la reproduction, 30: 353-357. 71NoP
13 Seasonal allergic rhinitisWiesenauer M, Häussler S, Gaus W (1983). [Treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca]. Fortschritte der Medizin, 101: 811-814. 86NoP
14 Seasonal allergic rhinitisWiesenauer M, Gaus W, Häussler S (1990). [Treatment of pollinosis with the homeopathic preparation Galphimia glauca. A double-blind trial in clinical practice]. Allergologie, 13: 359-363. 201NoP
15 SinusitisFriese K-H, Zabalotnyi D I (2007). [Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis. A double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the efficiency and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy]. HNO, 55: 271-277. 144NoP
16 SinusitisWeiser M, Clasen B (1994). [Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of the clinical efficacy of the homeopathic Euphorbium compositum-S nasal spray in cases of chronic sinusitis]. Forschende Komplementa­rmedizin, 1: 251-259. 104YesP
17 SinusitisZabolotnyi D I, Kneis K C, Richardson A, et al (2007). Efficacy of a complex homeopathic medication (Sinfrontal) in patients with acute maxillary sinusitis: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Explore (NY), 3: 98-109. 113YesP
18 Varicose veinsErnst E, Saradeth T, Resch K L (1990). Complementary therapy of varicose veins—a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Phlebology, 5: 157-163. 61NoP
19 VertigoIssing W, Klein P, Weiser M (2005). The homeopathic preparation Vertigoheel versus Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of vertigo in an elderly population: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11: 155-160. 170NoOTP
20 VertigoWeiser M, Stro­sser W, Klein P (1998). Homeopathic vs. conventional treatment of vertigo: a randomized double-blind controlled clinical study. Archives of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 124: 879-885. 105YesOTP


Q124

  As per the answer to Q112 above, the cited evidence regarding vertigo (Vertigoheel) relates to comparison with usual care, not with placebo. The systematic review concluded that effectiveness of the medicine was at least as good as that of usual treatments. A pdf of the paper is attached (Annex 1).

Q125

  Regarding Professor Ernst's rebuttal that Vertigoheel is "not even a homeopathic product; this is homotoxicological", the following statement is submitted, further to Dr Fisher's (Q127), in response:

    "The reference to it being a `homotoxicological product' is incorrect. Homotoxicology is a `school' of homeopathy that may use Vertigoheel and other homeopathic combination medicines produced in accordance with a nationally recognised homeopathic pharmacopoea as part of this therapeutic approach."

    Dr Robbert van Haselen, Head of Research, Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH, Baden-Baden, Germany.

Q135

  "Four out of five" refers to the comprehensive, global, systematic reviews cited at Q112. As stated then by Dr Fisher, there are also 24 condition-based systematic reviews of homeopathy, 9 of which are positive.

Q142

  A pdf of the cited paper is attached (Annex 2), as requested by Dr Harris (Q143).

Q145

  There are 87 RCTs that studied the efficacy of a given homeopathic medicine. From those 87, there are 37 RCTs that reported positive findings—see Table 2 below.

Table 2

PLACEBO-CONTROLLED RCTS OF NAMED HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES: PAPERS REPORTING POSITIVE FINDINGS, INDICATING SAMPLE SIZE (N), STATISTICAL POWER STATUS AND POTENCY (>12C/<)
Medical conditionName of medicine Journal referenceN PoweredPotency
1 Allergic asthmaIsopathy Reilly D, Taylor M A, Beattie N G M, et al (1994). Is evidence for homeopathy reproducible? Lancet, 344: 1601-1606. 24Yes>12C
2 Anal fissureNitricum acidum Bignamini M, Saruggia M, Sansonetti G (1991). Homoeopathic treatment of anal fissures using Nitricum acidum. Berlin Journal on Research in Homeopathy, 1: 286-287. 31No<
3 Ankle sprainTraumeel S ® Zell J, Connert W D, Mau J, Feuerstake G (1988). [Treatment of acute sprains of the ankle. Controlled double-blind trial to test the effectiveness of a homeopathic ointment]. Fortschritte der Medizin, 106: 96-100. 69Yes<
4 Blood coagulationAntimony Heusser P, Berger S, Stutz M, et al (2009). Efficacy of homeopathically potentized antimony on blood coagulation. A randomized placebo controlled crossover trial. Forschende Komplementa­rmedizin, 16: 14-18. 30No<
5 BronchitisBronchiselect ® Diefenbach M, Schilken J, Steiner G, Becker HJ (1997). [Homeopathic therapy in respiratory tract diseases. Evaluation of a clinical study in 258 patients]. Zeitschrift fu­r Allgemeinmedizin, 73: 308-314. 209No<
6 CoughDrosetux syrup ® Bordes L R, Dorfman P (1986). [Evaluation of the antitussive effect of Drosetux syrup: double-blind study versus placebo]. Cahiers d'ORL, 21: 731-734. 60No<
7 Infertility (oligomenorrhoea)Phyto-Hypophyson ® Bergmann J, Luft B, Boehmann S, et al (2000). [The efficacy of the complex medication Phyto-Hypophyson L in female, hormone-related sterility. A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical double-blind study]. Forschende Komplementa­rmedizin und Klassische Naturheilkunde, 7: 190-199. 37Yes<
8 InfluenzaOscillococcinum ® Ferley J P, Zmirou D, D'Adhemar D, Balducci F (1989). A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza like syndromes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 27: 329-335. 462No>12C
9 InfluenzaOscillococcinum ® Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al (1998). Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. British Homeopathic Journal, 87: 69-76. 372Yes>12C
10 Influenza (prevention)Combination preparation Rottey E E D, Verleye G B, Liagre R L P (1995). [The effect of a homeopathic preparation in the prevention of flu symptoms: a randomized double-blind trial in primary care practice]. Tijdschrift Integrale Geneeskunde, 11: 54-58. 501No>12C
11 Influenza (prevention)Gripp-Heel ® Brydak L B, Denys A (1999). The evaluation of humoral response and the clinical evaluation of a risk-group patients' state of health after administration of the homeopathic preparation Gripp-Heel during the influenza epidemic season 1993/94. International Review of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 5: 223-227. 124No<
12 Irritable bowel syndromeAsa foetida Rahlfs V W, Mssinger P (1978). [Asa foetida in the treatment of the irritable colon—a double-blind trial]. Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift, 104: 140-143. 89No<
13 Muscle sorenessArnica Tveiten D, Bruseth S, Borchgrevink C F, Norseth J (1998). Effects of the homoeopathic remedy Arnica D30 on marathon runners: a randomized, double-blind study during the 1995 Oslo Marathon. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 6: 71-74. 46No>12C
14 ObesityHelianthus tuberosus Werk W, Lehmann M, Galland F (1994). [Comparative controlled trial on the effect of the homeopathic botanical medicinal product Helianthus tuberosus D1 as an adjuvant in the treatment of obesity]. Therapiewoche, 44: 34-39. 102No<
15 Plantar fasciitisRuta graveolens Clark J, Percivall A (2000). A preliminary investigation into the effectiveness of the homeopathic remedy, Ruta graveolens, in the treatment of pain in plantar fasciitis. British Journal of Podiatry, 3: 81-85. 14No>12C
16 Post-operative agitationAconite Alibeu J P, Jobert J (1990). [Homeopathic therapy with Aconite for post-operative pain-agitation syndrome]. Pédiatrie, 45: 465-466. 46No<
17 Post-operative bruisingArnica Seeley B M, Denton A B, Ahn M S, Maas C S (2006). Effect of homeopathic Arnica montana on bruising in face-lifts: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, 8: 54-59. 29NoMixed
18 Post-operative painArnica Robertson A, Suryanarayanan R, Banerjee A (2007). Homeopathic Arnica montana for post-tonsillectomy analgesia: a randomised placebo control trial. Homeopathy, 96: 17-21. 111Yes>12C
19 Post-operative swellingArnica Brinkhaus B, Wilkens J M, Lu­dtke R, et al (2006). Homeopathic arnica therapy in patients receiving knee surgery: results of three randomised double-blind trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 14: 237-246. 57Yes>12C
20 Postpartum bleedingArnica + Bellis perennis Oberbaum M, Galoyan N, Lerner-Geva L, et al (2005). The effect of the homeopathic remedies Arnica and Bellis perennis on mild postpartum bleeding—a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study -preliminary results. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 13: 87-90. 40YesMixed
21 Postpartum lactationApis mellifica + Bryonia Berrebi A, Parant O, Ferval F, et al (2001). [Treatment of pain due to unwanted lactation with a homeopathic preparation given in the immediate post-partum period]. Journal de gyne«cologie, obste«trique et biologie de la reproduction, 30: 353-357. 71No<
22 RadiodermatitisBelladonna +
X-ray
Balzarini A, Felisi E, Martini A, De Conno F (2000). Efficacy of homeopathic treatment of skin reactions during radiotherapy for breast cancer: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. British Homeopathic Journal, 89: 8-12. 61NoMixed
23 Renal failureChina rubra Saruggia M, Corghi E (1992). Effects of homoeopathic dilutions of china rubra on intradialytic symptomatology in patients treated with chronic haemodialysis. British Homeopathic Journal, 81: 86-88. 35No<
24 Seasonal allergic rhinitisBetula Aabel S, Laerum E, Dlvik S, Djupesland P (2000). Is homeopathic "immunotherapy" effective? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with the isopathic remedy Betula 30c for patients with birch pollen allergy. British Homeopathic Journal, 89: 161-168. 66Yes>12C
25 Seasonal allergic rhinitisGalphimia glauca Wiesenauer M, Gaus W, Häussler S (1990). [Treatment of pollinosis with the homeopathic preparation Galphimia glauca. A double-blind trial in clinical practice]. Allergologie, 13: 359-363. 201No<
26 Seasonal allergic rhinitisGalphimia glauca Wiesenauer M, Häussler S, Gaus W (1983). [Treatment of pollinosis with Galphimia glauca]. Fortschritte der Medizin, 101: 811-814. 86No<
27 Seasonal allergic rhinitisIsopathy Kim L S, Riedlinger J E, Baldwin C M, et al (2005). Treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis using homeopathic preparation of common allergens in the southwest region of the US: a randomized, controlled clinical trial. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 39: 617-624. 34Yes<
28 Seasonal allergic rhinitisIsopathy (grass pollen) Reilly D T, Taylor M A (1985). Potent placebo or potency? A proposed study model with initial findings using homoeopathically prepared pollens in hayfever. British Homeopathic Journal, 74: 65-75. 36No>12C
29 Seasonal allergic rhinitisIsopathy (grass pollen) Reilly D T, Taylor M A, McSharry C, Aitchison T (1986). Is homeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Lancet, ii: 881-885. 144Yes>12C
30 Seasonal allergic rhinitisIsopathy (grass pollen) Taylor M A, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones R H, et al (2000). Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. British Medical Journal, 321: 471-476. 50Yes>12C
31 Seborrhoeic dermatitisCombination preparation Smith S A, Baker A E, Williams J H (2002). Effective treatment of seborrhoeic dermatitis using a low dose, oral homeopathic medication consisting of potassium bromide, sodium bromide, nickel sulfate, and sodium chloride in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Alternative Medicine Review, 7: 59-67. 32No<
32 SinusitisCombination preparation Friese K-H, Zabalotnyi D I (2007). [Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis. A double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the efficiency and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy]. HNO, 55: 271-277. 144No<
33 SinusitisEuphorbium compositum Weiser M, Clasen B (1994). [Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of the clinical efficacy of the homeopathic Euphorbium compositum-S nasal spray in cases of chronic sinusitis]. Forschende Komplementa­rmedizin, 1: 251-259. 104Yes<
34 SinusitisSinfrontal ® Zabolotnyi D I, Kneis K C, Richardson A, et al (2007). Efficacy of a complex homeopathic medication (Sinfrontal) in patients with acute maxillary sinusitis: a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial. Explore (NY), 3: 98-109. 113Yes<
35 StomatitisTraumeel S ® Oberbaum M, Yaniv I, Ben-Gal Y, et al (2001). A randomized, controlled clinical trial of the homeopathic medication Traumeel S in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis in children undergoing stem cell transplantation. Cancer, 92: 684-690. 30No<
36 Tracheal secretionsPotassium dichromate Frass M, Dielacher C, Linkesch M, et al (2005). Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients. Chest, 127: 936-941. 50No>12C
37 Varicose veinsPoikiven ® Ernst E, Saradeth T, Resch K L (1990). Complementary therapy of varicose veins—a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Phlebology, 5: 157-163. 61No<12C


Dr Robert T Mathie

Research Development Adviser

British Homeopathic Association

December 2009


Annex 1

Schneider B, Klein P, Weiser M (2005). Treatment of vertigo with a homeopathic complex remedy compared with usual treatments: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Arzneimittelforschung, 55: 23-29.

Annex 2

Linde K (2009). Can you trust systematic reviews of complementary and alternative therapies? European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 1: 117-123.





 
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