Comparison of effectiveness of frequently and infrequently used homeopathic medicines
Received13 April 2010
revised15 September 2010
accepted04 November 2010
22 December 2017 (online)
Rationale: Patients treated with homeopathy may respond to infrequently used or even ‘new’ medicines. But does the introduction of an unlimited number of (new) medicines improve homeopathy? Do new medicines solve old problems?
Methods: 1. Consensus meetings to evaluate best cases. 2. Patient outcome study in 10 Dutch practices.
Results: Good cases are scarce for many medicines, random variance is an important source of uncertainty. 50 Medicines are responsible for 72% of all successful prescriptions. There is no difference in effectiveness of frequently and less frequently used medicines. Confirmation bias is found for a few well-known symptom-medicine combinations.
Conclusion: ‘New’ and infrequently medicines are as effective as ‘old’ frequently used medicines. Improving the use of frequently used medicines is more effective in improving results than seldom used medicines. Large numbers are required and old mistakes should be avoided developing new medicines. A research agenda for improving the use of homeopathic medicines is imperative.
- 1 Rutten A.L.B., Stolper C.F., Lugten R.F., Barthels R.J. ‘Cure’ as the gold standard for likelihood ratio assessment: theoretical considerations. Homeopathy 2004; 93: 78-83.
- 2 Walach H., Falkenberg T., Fonnebo V., Lewith G., Jonas W.B. Circular instead of hierarchical: methodological principles for the evaluation of complex interventions. BMC Med Res Methodol 2006; 6: 29 10.1186/1471-2288-6-29.
- 3 Nuhn T., Lüdtke R., Geraedts M. Placebo effect sizes in homeopathic compared to conventional drugs – a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Homeopathy 2010; 99: 76-82.
- 4 Kienle G.S., Kiene H. Methodik der Einzelfallbeschreibung. Der Merkurstab 2009; 62 (03) 239-242.
- 5 Reilly D., Mercer S.W., Bikker A.P., Harrison T. Outcome related to impact on daily living: preliminary validation of the ORIDL instrument. BMC Health Serv Res 2007; 7: 139 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-139.
- 6 McKenzie C.R. Increased sensitivity to differentially diagnostic answers using familiar materials: implications for confirmation bias. Mem Cognit 2006; 34 (03) 577-588.
- 7 Coutinho N. Personal communication.
- 8 Frei H. Polarity analysis, a new approach to increase the precision of homeopathic prescriptions. Homeopathy 2009; 98: 49-55.
- 9 Rutten A.L.B., Frei H. Opposite repertory-rubrics in Bayesian perspective. Homeopathy 2010; 99: 113-118.
- 10 Wassenhoven M van. Towards an evidence-based repertory: clinical evaluation of Veratrum album. Homeopathy 2004; 93: 71-77.
- 11 Rutten A.L.B., Stolper C.F., Lugten R.F., Barthels R.J. Statistical analysis of six repertory-rubrics after prospective assessment applying Bayes’ theorem. Homeopathy 2009; 98: 26-34.
- 12 Naranjo C.A., Busto U., Sellers E.M. et al. A method for estimating the probability of adverse drug reactions. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1981; 80: 289-295.
- 13 Arulmani R., Rajendran S.D., Suresh B. Adverse drug reaction monitoring in a secondary care hospital in South India. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2008; 65 (02) 210-216.