MYTHs about Homeopathy – A Series. Second episode.
“There isn’t a single good quality clinical trial showing homeopathy works”
Examples of high quality randomised controlled trials showing homeopathy works
Many people believe that all high quality randomised controlled trials (RCT) testing homeopathy have been negative. This is untrue. Below are examples of positive high quality RCTs and systematic reviews/meta-analyses testing various types of homeopathy:
- Individualised homeopathic treatment for diarrhoea in children. A meta-analysis of three placebo-controlled randomised trials by Jacobs et al. 2003 showed that homeopathic treatment reduced the duration of diarrhea (p=0.008).1
- Individualised homeopathic treatment for ear infections (otitis media) in children 2,3
- The homeopathic medicine Galphimia glauca for hay fever (allergic rhinitis)4
- The isopathic medicine Pollen 30c for hay fever5
- The homeopathic medicine Oscillococcinum for the treatment of influenza6. This study showed that Oscillococcinum was effective at treating influenza, but ineffective for preventing it.
- The complex homeopathic medicine Vertigoheel for vertigo.7
More research is needed to confirm the findings of these promising studies, particularly large-scale repetitions by other research teams.
To find out more about promising areas of clinical research, see ‘Homeopathy on trial – The need for targeted research’ by Tournier & Roberts, 2013.
The issue of ‘cherry picking’
An argument often heard when such studies are presented is that selecting the evidence in this way amounts to ‘cherry picking’ i.e. selecting only positive trials when negative trials also exist. This is an important issue when interpreting evidence, which is why there has been a recent focus on forcing research institutions and drug companies to disclose all trial results – both positive and negative – so that the balance of evidence can be considered in it’s entirety.
To our knowledge, there are no other repetitions of the above trials (either positive or negative), so here we are presenting the entire available evidence at this time on these treatments.
As research in homeopathy is a relatively new field and there is very limited funding to support new trials, few high quality studies have been carried out, let alone repeated – something HRI is keen to change.
As and when more studies become available testing these same homeopathic treatments further, the evidence base will be updated as these findings are either confirmed, or invalidated, by new results.
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