Homeopathy Versus NSAIDs
J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):17-25. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0560.
Efficacy of Arnica montana D4 for healing of wounds after Hallux valgus surgery compared to diclofenac.
Karow JH1, Abt HP, Fröhling M, Ackermann H.
This study was undertaken to answer the question: “Is Arnica D4 as efficacious as diclofenac in relation to symptoms and wound healing after foot surgery?”
In this randomized double-blinded, parallel-group study (GCP-standard), the efficacy of Arnica D4 10 pillules (taken orally, 3 times per day) and diclofenac sodium, 50 mg (taken orally, 3 times per day) were investigated for equivalence in 88 patients 4 days after hallux valgus surgery. Outcome parameters were (1) postoperative irritation, (2) patient mobility, (3) rated pain, and (4) use of analgesics. The hierarchic equivalence test based on one-sided Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney-U confidence intervals (CIs) was used. Equivalence was perceived, when the lower margin of the 95% CI was > 0.36 corresponding to a range of equivalence of 1/2 standard deviation.
Arnica D4 and diclofenac were equivalent for wound irritation (lower margin of the 95% CI on day 4: 0.4729 for rubor; 0.3674 for swelling; 0.4106 for calor) and patient mobility (0.4726). A descriptive analysis showed the superiority of Arnica D4 with respect to patient mobility (p = 0.045). With respect to pain, Arnica D4 was inferior to diclofenac (lower margin of the 95% CI 0.026). No significant differences were found regarding the use of additional analgesics during the 4 postoperative days (Dipidolor, Janssen-Cilag, Neuss, Germany; p = 0.54; Tramal, Grünenthal, Aachen, Germany; p = 0.1; and Novalgin, AVENTIS-Pharma, Bad Soden, Germany; p = 0.1). Arnica D4 was significantly better tolerated than diclofenac (p = 0.049). Nine (9) patients (20.45%) of the diclofenac group and 2 (4.5%) of the Arnica D4 group reported intolerance. There was no disturbance in wound healing in any of the patients. Arnica D4 is 60% cheaper than diclofenac.
After foot operations, Arnica D4 can be used instead of diclofenac to reduce wound irritation.
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
A randomized controlled trial of homeopathy in rheumatoid arthritis
Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, Great Ormond Street, London
WC1N 3HR and
Department of Rheumatology, GKT School of Medicine,
Kings College Hospital, East Dulwich Grove, Dulwich, London SE22 9PT, UK
. To test the hypothesis that homeopathy is effective in reducing the symptoms of
joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
. This was a 6-month randomized, cross-over, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-centre study set in a teaching hospital rheumatology out-patient clinic. The participants of the study were 112 patients who had definite or classical RA, were seropositive for rheumatoid factor and were receiving either stable doses of single non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for 3 months or single disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) with or without NSAIDs for 6 months.
Patients who were severely disabled, had taken systemic steroids in the previous 6 months or had withdrawn from DMARD therapy in the previous 12 months were excluded. Two series of medicines were used. One comprised 42 homeopathic medicines used for treating RA in 6cH (10-12) and or 30cH (10-30) dilutions (a total of 59 preparations) manufactured to French National Pharmacopoeia standards, the other comprised identical matching placebos. The main outcome measures were visual analogue scale pain scores, Ritchie articular index, duration of morning stiffness and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).
. Fifty-eight patients completed the trial. Over 6 months there were significant decreases (P<0.01 by Wilcoxon rank sum tests) in their mean pain scores (fell 18%), articular indices (fell 24%) and ESRs (fell 11%). Fifty-four patients withdrew before completing the trial. Thirty-one changed conventional medication, 10 had serious intercurrent illness or surgery, 12 failed to attend and three withdrew consent. Placebo and active homeopathy had different effects on pain scores; mean pain scores were significantly lower after 3 months’ placebo therapy than 3 months’ active therapy (P=0.032 by Wilcoxon rank sum test). Articular index, ESR and morning stiffness were similar with active and placebo homeopathy.
. We found no evidence that active homeopathy improves the symptoms of RA, over 3 months, in patients attending a routine clinic who are stabilized on NSAIDs or DMARDs.
Last Sentence in Discussion
. It seems more important to define if homeopathists can genuinely control patients’ symptoms and less relevant to have concerns about whether this is due to a ‘genuine’ effect or to influencing the placebo response.
Traumeel – an emerging option to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the management of acute musculoskeletal injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries are on the rise. First-line management of such injuries usually employs the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) approach to limit excessive inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also commonly used to limit inflammation and to control pain. Traumeel®, a preparation with bioregulatory effects is also used to treat the symptoms associated with acute musculoskeletal injuries, including pain and swelling. Traumeel is a fixed combination of biological and mineral extracts, which aims to apply stimuli to multiple targets to restore normal functioning of regulatory mechanisms. This paper presents the accumulating evidence of Traumeel’s action on the inflammatory process, and of its efficacy and tolerability in randomized trials, as well as observational and surveillance studies for the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. Traumeel has shown comparable effectiveness to NSAIDs in terms of reducing symptoms of inflammation, accelerating recovery, and improving mobility, with a favorable safety profile. While continued research and development is ongoing to broaden the clinical evidence of Traumeel in acute musculoskeletal injury and to further establish its benefits, current information suggests that Traumeel may be considered as an anti-inflammatory agent that is at least as effective and appears to be better tolerated than NSAIDs
A randomized controlled trial comparing topical piroxicam gel with a homeopathic gel in osteoarthritis of the knee
R. A. van Haselen and P. A. G. Fisher
The Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3HR, UK
. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a homeopathic gel vs an NSAID (piroxicam) gel in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.
. One hundred and eighty-four out-patients with radiographically confirmed symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee were entered into a pragmatic, randomized, double-blind controlled trial and treated with 1 g of gel three times daily for 4 weeks. Main outcome measures were pain on walking as a Visual Analogue Score (VAS ) and a single-joint Ritchie index.
. One hundred and seventy-two of the 184 enrolled patients had endpoints for the main outcome parameters. The pain reduction was 16.5 mm VAS in the homeopathy group (n=86) and 8.1 mm in the piroxicam group (n=86); the difference between treatment groups was 8.4 mm (95% confidence interval 0.8–15.9), and after adjustment for pain at baseline it was 6.8 mm (95% confidence interval –0.3 to 13.8). There was no significant difference between treatment groups in the single-joint Ritchie index (P=0.78). Adverse events occurred in 28 patients (12 homeopathy group, 5 withdrawn; 16 piroxicam group, 9 withdrawn); 18 of the events involved a local reaction (7 homeopathy group, 2 withdrawn; 11piroxicam group, 5 withdrawn).
. The homeopathic gel was at least as effective and as well tolerated as the NSAID gel. The presence of a clinically relevant difference between treatment groups cannot be excluded. The homeopathic gel supplemented by simple analgesics if required may provide a useful treatment option for patients with osteoarthritis.
Homeopathy and Pregnancy
Is it safe to use homeopathic remedies during pregnancy
botanist, herbalist, acupuncturist
Yes, homeopathy is absolutely safe during pregnancy. Since most of the products out there don’t contain any actual molecules from plants, they’re considered to be in the category of “energy medicine.” Side effects are rare.
While homeopathic products that say “mother tincture” on them (indicated by the symbol Ø) are weaker than most herbal extracts, some might be too strong for pregnancy. I recommend sticking to homeopathic products that are highly diluted and in tablet form. Any dilutions that are 6x or higher (up to 30x, usually) are fine.
Ronald J. Ruggiero
pharmacy and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science
Theoretically, homeopathy can’t hurt anyone because the ingredients are so diluted. However, we don’t know for sure because homeopathic ingredients haven’t been studied. So I would say all homeopathic remedies are out.
Is Homeopathy Safe While Pregnant?
Can I take homeopathic remedies while pregnant?
No, you should stay away from homeopathic products while you’re pregnant. Although reported side effects of homeopathic medicines are rare, the bottom line is that there is little scientific data to back up the safety of these drugs in pregnant women.
Allopathic (also known as Western or conventional) medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter, are subjected to rigorous investigation by the FDA and given a pregnancy-class rating. The spectrum ranges from Category A drugs (considered to be safe) through Category X (don’t take under any circumstances). Homeopathic medicines also are regulated by the FDA, but because they contain little or no active ingredients, they aren’t subjected to the same testing protocols. “In many cases we don’t really know what is in these products,” cautions Hilda Hutcherson, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center and the author of What Your Mother Never Told You About S-e-x. “My feeling is that until a study shows that something is absolutely safe to use in pregnancy, it’s best to avoid it.”
Homeopathy for Pregnancy & Childbirth
Pregnancy is an interesting and absorbing time for most women, and can also involve a great deal of stress. Many emotional, hormonal, and physical changes take place as the baby grows.
There are homeopathic remedies that can help a woman’s body deal with various stresses, and help to maintain its balance as the pregnancy proceeds. Homeopathy is ideal for women in their childbearing years as it is a gentle yet highly effective system of medicine. During pregnancy, some women will choose to live with the discomfort of minor complaints such as morning sickness or heartburn, rather than seek treatment because they are concerned about the possible side effects of orthodox medicines on their unborn child.
Homeopathic medicines are safe for your growing baby because only a minute amount of the active ingredient is used in their preparation. They work by stimulating the body’s own healing powers. Good homeopathic treatment prior to conception can prepare you for a healthy pregnancy.
Homeopathic Medicines in Pregnancy
The relative safety of the homeopathic medicines makes them invaluable in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. “There’s nothing safer.” says Ananda Zaren, a nurse, midwife, and homeopath in Santa Barbara, California, who has used homeopathic medicines in hundreds of births. Besides being safe, the medicines are quite effective in treating various common problems of pregnancy. Zaren adds, “The medicines help strengthen the woman physically and psychologically.” Homeopaths have been known to joke that pregnancy is an excellent time to receive homeopathic care since two people (the mother and the fetus) get a remedy for the price of one. The medicines not only improve the health of the mother, they also benefit the fetus. Although no formal statistical analysis has yet been carried out, homeopaths have commonly observed that the children born from women who have received homeopathic care during pregnancy seem healthier than others. Homeopaths make this conjecture by comparing the children of women from previous pregnancies without homeopathic medicines with the offspring of later pregnancies in which the mothers have received the medicines.
Huffington Post Article
August 28, 2015 Huffpost Healthy Living
Evidence Based Homeopath
The Swiss Government’s Remarkable Report on Homeopathic Medicine
Posted: 02/15/2012 8:56 am EST Updated: 09/18/2013 6:30 pm EDT
The Swiss government has a long and widely-respected history of neutrality, and therefore, reports from this government on controversial subjects need to be taken more seriously than other reports from countries that are more strongly influenced by present economic and political constituencies. When one considers that two of the top five largest drug companies in the world have their headquarters in Switzerland, one might assume that this country would have a heavy interest in and bias toward conventional medicine, but such assumptions would be wrong.
In late 2011, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathic medicine represents the most comprehensive evaluation of homeopathic medicine ever written by a government and was just published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011). This breakthrough report affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland’s national health insurance program.
The Swiss government’s inquiry into homeopathy and complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments resulted from the high demand and widespread use of alternatives to conventional medicine in Switzerland, not only from consumers but from physicians as well. Approximately half of the Swiss population have used CAM treatments and value them. Further, about half of Swiss physicians consider CAM treatments to be effective. Perhaps most significantly, 85 percent of the Swiss population wants CAM therapies to be a part of their country’s health insurance program.
It is therefore not surprising that more than 50 percent of the Swiss population surveyed prefer a hospital that provides CAM treatments rather to one that is limited to conventional medical care.
Beginning in 1998, the government of Switzerland decided to broaden its national health insurance to include certain complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, anthroposophic medicine, and neural therapy. This reimbursement was provisional while the Swiss government commissioned an extensive study on these treatments to determine if they were effective and cost-effective. The provisional reimbursement for these alternative treatments ended in 2005, but as a result of this new study, the Swiss government’s health insurance program once again began to reimburse for homeopathy and select alternative treatments. In fact, as a result of a national referendum in which more than two-thirds of voters supported the inclusion of homeopathic and select alternative medicines in Switzerland’s national health care insurance program, the field of complementary and alternative medicine has become a part of this government’s constitution (Dacey, 2009; Rist, Schwabl, 2009).
The Swiss Government’s “Health Technology Assessment”
The Swiss government’s “Health Technology Assessment” on homeopathic medicine is much more comprehensive than any previous governmental report written on this subject to date. Not only did this report carefully and comprehensively review the body of evidence from randomized double-blind and placebo controlled clinical trials testing homeopathic medicines, they also evaluated the “real world effectiveness” as well as safety and cost-effectiveness. The report also conducted a highly-comprehensive review of the wide body of preclinical research (fundamental physio-chemical research, botanical studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies with human cells).
And still further, this report evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses, outcome studies, and epidemiological research. This wide review carefully evaluated the studies conducted, both in terms of quality of design and execution (called “internal validity”) and how appropriate each was for the way that homeopathy is commonly practiced (called “external validity”). The subject of external validity is of special importance because some scientists and physicians conduct research on homeopathy with little or no understanding of this type of medicine (some studies tested a homeopathic medicine that is rarely used for the condition tested, while others utilized medicines not commonly indicated for specific patients). When such studies inevitably showed that the homeopathic medicine did not “work,” the real and accurate assessment must be that the studies were set up to disprove homeopathy… or simply, the study was an exploratory trial that sought to evaluate the results of a new treatment (exploratory trials of this nature are not meant to prove or disprove the system of homeopathy but only to evaluate that specific treatment for a person with a specific condition).
After assessing pre-clinical basic research and the high quality clinical studies, the Swiss report affirmed that homeopathic high-potencies seem to induce regulatory effects (e.g., balancing or normalizing effects) and specific changes in cells or living organisms. The report also reported that 20 of the 22 systematic reviews of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines detected at least a trend in favor of homeopathy.* (Bornhöft, Wolf, von Ammon, et al, 2006)
The Swiss report found a particularly strong body of evidence to support the homeopathic treatment of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Respiratory Allergies. The report cited 29 studies in “Upper Respiratory Tract Infections/AllergicReactions,” of which 24 studies found a positive result in favor of homeopathy. Further, six out of seven controlled studies that compared homeopathic treatment with conventional medical treatment showed that homeopathy to be more effective than conventional medical interventions (the one other trial found homeopathic treatment to be equivalent to conventional medical treatment). All of these results from homeopathic treatment came without the side effects common to conventional drug treatment. In evaluating only the randomized placebo controlled trials, 12 out of 16 studies showed a positive result in favor of homeopathy.
The authors of the Swiss government’s report acknowledge that a part of the overall review of research included one negative review of clinical research in homeopathy (Shang, et al, 2005). However, the authors noted that this review of research has been widely and harshly criticized by both advocates and non-advocates of homeopathy. The Swiss report noted that the Shang team did not even adhere to the QUORUM guidelines which are widely recognized standards for scientific reporting (Linde, Jonas, 2005). The Shang team initially evaluated 110 homeopathic clinical trials and then sought to compare them with a matching 110 conventional medical trials. Shang and his team determined that there were 22 “high quality” homeopathic studies but only nine “high quality” conventional medical studies. Rather than compare these high quality trials (which would have shown a positive result for homeopathy), the Shang team created criteria to ignore a majority of high quality homeopathic studies, thereby trumping up support for their original hypothesis and bias that homeopathic medicines may not be effective (Lüdtke, Rutten, 2008).
The Swiss report also notes that David Sackett, M.D., the Canadian physician who is widely considered to be one of the leading pioneers in “evidence based medicine,” has expressed serious concern about those researchers and physicians who consider randomized and double-blind trials as the only means to determine whether a treatment is effective or not. To make this assertion, one would have to acknowledge that virtually all surgical procedures were “unscientific” or “unproven” because so few have undergone randomized double-blind trials.
In my view, for a treatment to be determined to be “effective” or “scientifically proven,” a much more comprehensive assessment of what works and doesn’t is required. Ultimately, the Swiss government’s report on homeopathy represents an evaluation of homeopathy that included an assessment of randomized double blind trials as well as other bodies of evidence, all of which together lead the report to determine that homeopathic medicines are indeed effective.
The next article will discuss further evidence provided in this report from the Swiss government on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic care.
Statement of correction (9/18/2013): The report on homeopathy (2012) that was described above has now been verified to be a second edition of a report that was initially commissioned by the government of Switzerland, but it was not a report that was issued by the Swiss government nor endorsed by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Therefore, it is my intention here to state clearly that the first publication listed in the “References” section was not commissioned by the Swiss government, but the second reference that was written by most of the same authors as the first reference was commissioned by Swiss government. The conclusions of this publication (2006) are the same as those asserted in more detailed in both book forms, 2005 (ref. Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PM (Eds.). Homöopathie in der Krankenversorgung – Wirksamkeit, Nutzen, Sicherheit und Wirtschaftlichkeit. Frankfurt/M. 2006 VAS Verlag für Akademische Schriften.) and 2012. The conclusions of the commissioned report and the more detailed books are basically the same in the safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of homeopathic medicine.
Bornhoft, Gudrun, and Matthiessen, Peter F. Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs. Goslar, Germany: Springer, 2011. http://rd.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1 (This book is presently available from the German office of the publisher, and it will become available via the American office as well as select booksellers in mid- to late-February, 2012.)(NOTE: When specific facts in the above article are provided but not referenced, this means that these facts were derived from this book.)
Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K, Righetti M, Maxion-Bergemann S, Baumgartner S, Thurneysen AE, Matthiessen PF. Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice – summarized health technology assessment. Forschende Komplementärmedizin (2006);13 Suppl 2:19-29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16883077
Dacey, Jessica. Therapy supporters roll up sleeves after vote. SwissInfo.ch, May 19, 2009. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Therapy_supporters_roll_up_sleeves_after_vote.html?cid=670064
Linde K, Jonas W. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Lancet 36:2081-2082. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67878-6. http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140673605678786.pdf
Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analysed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(08)00190-X/abstract
Rist L, Schwabl H: Komplementärmedizin im politischen Prozess. Schweizer Bevölkerungstimmt über Verfassungsartikel «Zukunft mit Komplementärmedizin» ab. Forsch Komplementmed 2009, doi 10.1159/000203073.
(Translation: Complementary medicine in the political process: The Swiss population votes on the Constitutional Article “The future with complementary medicine”
*Although this Swiss government report was just published in book form in 2011, the report was finalized in 2006. In light of this date, the authors evaluated systematic reviews and meta-analyses on homeopathic research up until June 2003.
Dana Ullman, MPH, is America’s leading spokesperson for homeopathy and is the founder of www.homeopathic.com . He is the author of 10 books, including his bestseller, Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines. His most recent book is, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (the Foreword to this book was written by Dr. Peter Fisher, the Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II). Dana lives, practices, and writes from Berkeley, California.