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No smoke without fire
28 December 2017 (online)
This issue of Homeopathy highlights the worldwide distribution and steady spread of homeopathy. Clare Relton and colleagues from the University of Sheffield report their systematic review of the use of homeopathy by the general population.[ 1 ] They found a total of 36 surveys to which they applied rigorous quality assessment criteria. They divided them according to the type of use of homeopathy, into three categories: treatment by a practitioner, all use of homeopathy and undefined use of homeopathy where it was not clear whether the estimate referred to treatment by a practitioner or over-the-counter purchase. They identified surveys covering 11 different countries. The overall median worldwide annual rate of use of homeopathy purchased over the counter was 3.9% of the population with 1.5% consulting a practitioner per year. The highest use was in Switzerland, where homeopathy is included in mandatory health insurance.
Ironically no data was included from two of the highest use countries: India and France. There appears to be no reliable data for India, but high-quality data is available from the French national insurance database. This was excluded from this systematic review for technical reasons, but it showed relatively high use with 10.2% of the general population and 18% of children aged 0–4 years using homeopathy annually. This would make the French the highest users of homeopathy in Europe; the two Swiss surveys estimated use at 6.4% and 8.2%.
- 1 Relton C., Cooper K., Viksveen P., Fibert P., Thomas K. Prevalence of homeopathy use by the general population worldwide: a systematic review. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 69-78.
- 2 Dossett M., Davis R.B., Kaptchuk T.J., Yeh G.Y. Homeopathy use by US adults: results of a national survey. American J Public Health 2016; 106: 743-745 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.303025
- 3 Mathie R.T., Ramparsad N., Legg L.A. et al Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of non-individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews 2017; 6: 63 DOI: 10.1186/s13643-017-0445-3.
- 4 Mathie R.T., Lloyd S.M., Legg L.A. et al Randomised placebo-controlled trials of individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews 2014; 3: 142 DOI: 10.1186/2046-4053-3-142.
- 5 To K.L.A., Fok Y.Y.Y., Chong K.C.M., Lee Y.C.J., Yiu L.S.S. Individualized homeopathic treatment in addition to conventional treatment in type II diabetic patients in Hong Kong — a retrospective cohort study. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 79-86.
- 6 Cavaco A.M., Arslan M., Sevgi S. Informing homeopathic practice for Turkish pharmacists: reviewing Portuguese community pharmacies example. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 93-102.
- 7 Bonafini C., Marzotto M., Bellavite P. In vitro effects of Zinc in soluble and homeopathic formulations on macrophages and astrocytes. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 114-124.
- 8 Waisse S., Jurj G. A clinical history of Zincum metallicum: homeopathic pathogenetic trials and case reports. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 125-141.