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Review of Effectiveness Studies of Homeopathy for Respiratory and ENT Complaints
05 February 2018 (online)
Introduction: Use of homeopathy is frequent for respiratory conditions. Homeopaths explain that effectiveness (real life) studies offer more external validity and allow the individualised approach characteristic of homeopathy. Thus, these results could be relevant to the clinical practice.
Methods: Analysis of systematic reviews, assessment reports (HTA), and clinical studies of indexed journals. Selection of the observational studies, description of their main characteristics and conclusions and estimation of effectiveness and drug-use ratios (OR-E<1 = clinically effective; OR-D<1 = drug-use reduced).
Results: Ten most relevant studies were found (6 multicentre, 2 multinational), published between 1996 and 2016 in four conventional, three CAM, and four homeopathic journals (Beghi 2016; Grimaldi-Bensouda 2014; Rossi 2009; Haidvogl 2007; Trichard 2004; Weber 2002; Frei 2001; Riley 2001; Friese 1997; Eizayaga 1996). Four thousand one hundred patients were included, with respiratory allergies and infections, acute and serous otitis media, sinusitis, and asthma. Follow-up was up to 14 days in acute problems and 1 to 10 years in chronic and prevention treatments. Clinical results were similar or better in the groups treated by homeopathy compared with the controls treated exclusively with conventional drugs, regarding response rate, speed of improvement, frequency of recurrence, and indirect measures such as absence from work. For the main variable or the more relevant to this analysis, the global OR of effectiveness was 0.656 (0.47–0.84). Conventional drug use, especially antibiotics, was less than half in the homeopathy groups, with a global OR of drug-use of 0.420 (0.27–0.56). This indicates more resolution and prevention capacity with a less consumption of conventional drugs, when homeopathy is used. Also fewer adverse reactions were reported.
Conclusion: The observational studies of better quality point out that homeopathy could be useful in the approach to respiratory and ENT ailments. Additionally, this strategy seems to reduce the use of conventional drugs and antibiotics in particular, as recommended by the clinical practice guidelines.
Keywords: Homeopathy, observational studies, effectiveness, drug utilization, respiratory tract disease