Homeopathic Plumbum metallicum for lead poisoning: a randomized clinical trial[ ☆ ]
Received11 March 2010
revised10 October 2010
accepted26 November 2010
20 December 2017 (online)
Introduction: Poisoning due to lead and its compounds has short and long-term effects primarily on the nervous, hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, renal and reproductive systems. It can manifest in acute or chronic symptoms. Measuring serum concentration is the primary method for diagnosing and monitoring exposed workers. Presently, elevated lead levels are treated by drugs whose effectiveness is contested on various fronts. Experimental studies suggest that homeopathic preparations may be in controlling blood lead levels in laboratory animals, creating the need for controlled studies to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of these preparations in humans.
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the homeopathic preparation Plumbum metallicum in reducing the blood lead level of workers exposed to this metal.
Design: Double-blind randomized trial.
Setting: Workers’ clinic in the Ajax battery plant, which employs 900 workers with varying degrees of lead exposure in Bauru, São Paulo State, Brazil.
Subjects: 131 workers exposed to lead.
Intervention: Plumbum metallicum 15cH or placebo, orally for 35 days.
Results: The percentage of workers who demonstrated a reduction in lead counts by a percentage greater than or equal to 25% following treatment was the same for both groups: 20.3% in the homeopathic groups versus 21% in the control group [Relative Risk (RR) = 0.95, confidential interval (CI) 95%: 0.47–1.92)]. Analysis by intention-to-treat also did not show any difference between the groups: 18.2% in the treated group versus 20% in the placebo group (RR = 0.91, CI 95%: 0.45–1.84).
Conclusion: The homeopathic preparation Plumbum metallicum had no effect, in this study, in terms of reducing serum lead in workers exposed to lead.
KeywordsLead poisoning - Controlled clinical trial - Effectiveness - Plumbum Metallicum - Homeopathic drug
☆Location of study: Brazilian Cochrane Center, Rua Pedro de Toledo, 598, Vila Clementino, São Paulo – SP, Brazil.
- 1 Tong S., von Schirnding Y.E., Prapamontol T. Environmental lead exposure: a public health problem of global dimensions. Bull World Health Organ 2000; 78: 1068-1077.
- 2 Dillman R.O., Crumb C.K., Lidsky M.J. Lead poisoning from a gunshot wound: report of a case and review of the literature. Am J Med 1979; 66: 509-514.
- 3 Selbst S.M., Henretig F., Fee M.A., Levy S.E., Kitts A.W. Lead poisoning in a child with a gunshot wound. Pediatrics 1986; 77: 413-416.
- 4 Environmental Protection Agency. Air quality criteria for lead. Washington: US. EPA; 1986. EPA – 600/8 –83/028 aF – dF.
- 5 National Research Council Committee on Measuring Lead in Critical Populations. Measuring lead exposure in infants, children an other sensitive populations. Washington: National Academy Press; 1993. pp. 31–98.
- 6 Alessio L., Camerini G. L’intossicazione professionale da piombo inorganico e sua prevenzione. Milano: Libreria Cortina; 1979.
- 7 Barry P.S. A comparison of concentrations of lead in human tissues. Br J Ind Méd 1975; 32: 119-139.
- 8 CDC: Centers for Disease Control. Preventing lead poisoning in young children: a statement by the Centers for Disease Control. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Service; 1991. US-DHHS nº99–2230.
- 9 Piomelli S., Rosen J.F., ChisoIm Jr. J.J., Graef J.W. Management of childhood lead poisoning. J Pediatr 1984; 105: 523-532.
- 10 Baghurst P.A., McMichael A.J., Wigg N.R. et al. Environmental exposure to lead and children’s intelligence at the age of seven years: the Port Pirie cohort study. N Engl J Med 1992; 327: 1279-1284.
- 11 Porru S., Alessio L. The use of chelating agents in occupational lead poisoning. Occup Med (Lond) 1996; 46: 41-48.
- 12 Harlan W.R. The relationship of blood lead levels to blood pressure in the U.S. population. Environ Health Perspect 1988; 78: 9-13.
- 13 Schwartz J. The relationship between blood lead and blood pressure in NHANES ll survey. Env Health Perspect 1988; 78: 15-22.
- 14 Seppalainen A.M., Hernberg S., Vesanto R., Kock B. Early neurotoxic effects of occupational lead exposure: a prospective study. Neurotoxicology 1983; 4: 181-192.
- 15 Hu H., Watanabe H., Payton M., Korrick S., Rotnitzky A. The relationship between bone lead and hemoglobin. JAMA 1994; 272: 1512-1517.
- 16 Assennato G., Paci C., Baser M.E. et al. Sperm count suppression without endocrine dysfunction in lead-exposed men. Arch Environ Health 1987; 42: 124-127.
- 17 Lerda D. Study of sperm characteristics in persons occupationally exposed to lead. Am J Ind Med 1992; 22: 567-571.
- 18 Bellinger D. Teratogen update: lead. Teratology 1994; 50: 367-373.
- 19 Silva N.R., Moraes E.C.F. Papel dos indicadores biológicos na avaliação da exposição ocupacional ao chumbo. Rev Bras Saúde Ocup 1987; 15 (58) 7-19.
- 20 Brasil. Ministério do Trabalho. Portaria Nº 24 de 29 de dezembro de 1994. Norma reguladora NR nº 7 Brasília 1994.
- 21 Goldfrank L.R., Osbom H., Hartnett L. Lead. In: Goldfrank L.R., Flomenbaum N., Lewin N., Howland M.A., Hoffman R., Nelson L. Goldfrank’s Toxicologic Emergencies . 4th edn 1990. London: Prentice-Hall Int; 627-635.
- 22 Frumkin H., Gerr F. Dimercaptosuccinic acid in the treatment of depression following lead exposure. Am J Ind Med 1993; 24: 701-706.
- 23 Hurlbut K., Tong T., Sullivan Jr. J.B. Pharmacotherapy of hazardous materials toxicity. In: SullivanJr J.B., Krieger G.R. Hazardous materials toxicology: clinical principles of environmental health . 1992. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 405-414.
- 24 Graziano J.H., Lolacono N.J., Meyer P. Dose Response study of oral 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid in children with elevated blood lead concentrations. J Pediatr 1988; 113 (04) 751-757.
- 25 Cazin J.C., Gaborit J.L. Etude pharmacologique de la rétention et de la mobilisation de l’arsenic sous l’ínfluence de dilutios hahnemanniennes d’Arsenicubm album. In: Boiron J., Abecassis J., Belon P. Aspects de la recherche en homéopathie . 1983. Lyon: Boiron; 19-38.
- 26 Fisher P., House I., Belon P., Turner P. The influence of the homeopathic remedy Plumbum Metallicum on the excretion kinetics of lead in rats. Hum Toxicol 1987; 6: 321-324.
- 27 Moreira H.M., Biagini M., Vassilieff I., Almeida A.A., Kempinas W.G. Efeitos do acetato de chumbo diluído e dinamizado (preparação homeopática) no tratamento do Saturnismo. Rev Homeopatia (São Paulo) 1999; 64: 39-44.
- 28 Hering C. The Guiding Symptoms of Our Matéria Médica. New Delhi: B. Jain Publis.; 1993. [reedição da edição de 1879 de Boericke & Tafel, Philadelfia].
- 29 Vijnovsky B. Tratado de matéria médica homeopática. Rio de Janeiro: Mukunda 1980 v.1/3.
- 30 Farmacopéia Homeopática Brasileira [Brazilian Homeophatic Pharmacopoea]. 2nd edn São Paulo: Atheneu; 1997.
- 31 Bellows J., Rudolph L. The initial impact of a workplace lead-poisoning prevention project. Am J Public Health 1993 Mar; 83 (03) 406-410.
- 32 Maizlish N., Rudolph L. California adults with elevated blood lead levels, 1987 through 1990. Am J Public Health 1993; 83 (03) 402-405.
- 33 O’Connor M.E., Rich D. Children with moderately elevated lead levels: is chelation with DMSA helpful?. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 1999; 38: 325-331.