Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Homeopathy:Proven Alternative Medicine Or A Placebo Part II

By Sanjib Sarkar

Homeopathy when looking at the best trials, Homeopathy performed better than a placebo on a 2 to 1 scale before 1991. This article will look at more modern trials.

New set of trials done by the Swiss-UK review team showed homeopathy medicines to give the exact same effect as a placebo remedy. This study did have some trial issues and was considered by many not to be a properly conducted trial.

We are going to examine the better done trials since 1991. We will not examine all of them but look at a fair amount of promising and not so promising evidence of properly conducted homeopathic trials.

Homeopathic Trials Below:

Trials when comparing Homeopathy to A Placebo

A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 242 participants aged 18 to 55 years. Trial compared an oral homeopathic treatment to placebo in asthmatic people allergic to house dust. Authors found the homeopathic treatment "no better than placebo." They noted "some differences between the homeopathic immunotherapy and placebo for which we have no explanation."

This study was an attempt to duplicate a successful trial with allergies and asthma. The authors are uncertain why the duplication did not work. This study was bigger than the initial study.

A homeopathic study with 126 children examined homeopathic effect on acute childhood diarrhea. The study was completed by 116 children. This trial was double blind and placebo controlled. The study showed homeopathic individualized homeopathic medicines improved children with diarrhea as compared to the placebo. This trial matches a previous trial done with diarrhea.

Another study which is random, double blinded and placebo control was with the popular homeopathic remedy arnica montana. This trail examined whether the homeopathic remedy arnica can ease muscle soreness for runners after running a long distance.. 519 people were in the trial with 400 people finishing the trial. The authors concluded arnica was no more effective than a placebo in this study.

Homeopathic medicines seem to indicate a positive effect compared to a placebo during a rheumatic syndrome study. There were six controlled clinical trials done. However, there was an inadequate amount of trials to draw a conclusion and some trial outcomes were mixed.

Homeopathy's most popular drug Oscillococcinum seems to show the most promise out all the other homeopathic remedies. Many large trials using this remedy seem to indicated a positive outcome for reducing the duration of the flu as compared to a placebo. Oscillococcinum results on flu prevention proved false. This remedy showed no signs of being able to prevent the flu.

Research on some homeopathic remedies have show positive outcomes. However, more research must be completed. Several studies after 1991 show that 50% of homeopathic trials show a positive outcome.

Studies of great quality before 1991 suggest that homeopathic is more effective than a placebo in 2 out of 3 trials. Several of these trials have been duplicated including Oscillococcinum. This drug was used in several trials. Every trial showed this remedy was more effective than a placebo in reducing the duration of the flu.

Better quality studies before 1991 showed approximately a 2 to 1 ratio of sucessful trials. A couple of the trials have been reproduced in several studies. Oscillococcinum was the only study that we found that was reproduced successfully several times by different researches with a large study group.

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