Homeopathy and Antimicrobial Resistance
05 February 2018 (online)
Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a massive global problem. An estimated 10 million people die annually from antibiotic resistant infections. The costs are projected to rise to $100 trillion a year by 2050. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said ‘We are approaching a time when things as common as a strep throat or a child's scratched knee could once again kill’. The WHO takes AMR very seriously and has published data on AMR worldwide.
Methods : I will review current strategies for tackling AMR. The Independent Review on AMR published in May 2016 made several recommendations. These include a global public awareness campaign, improved surveillance and more rapid diagnostic methods. The British Government has also published a strategy to tackle AMR. These recommendations will only slow, not reverse the spread of antibiotic resistance, unless new antibiotics are discovered. It is several decades since a new class of antibiotics was discovered. Neither of these strategies recommend exploration of innovative integrated medicine approaches.
Results: I will present a head-to-head randomised clinical trial of an Echinacea preparation against oseltamivir, which has lessons for homeopathy research. I will discuss randomised controlled trials of homeopathy for infectious respiratory tract conditions and a health technology assessment of homeopathy. I will review the evidence from clinical effectiveness studies of homeopathy in this domain, including the large-scale French EPI-3 study and the two multinational IIPCOS studies. These consistently indicate that use of homeopathy is associated with much reduced use of antibiotics.
Conclusion: Homeopathy should be part of an integrated strategy for tackling AMR. The homeopathic approach is not about killing micro-organisms; it seeks to promote patient resistance to infection, modulate innate immunity, and cultivate a healthy microbiome.
Keywords: Homeopathy, antimicrobial resistance, WHO, strategy, randomised clinical trials, clinical effectiveness, innate immunity, microbiome