A Pilot Study of Prospective Data Collection by Italian Homeopathic Doctors
28 March 2018
05 June 2018
07 August 2018 (eFirst)
Objective The main purpose of this article is to report the systematic data collection pertaining to the consultations of a group of qualified homeopathic physicians. Studies have been performed concerning: (1) the most frequently treated pathologies; (2) the symptoms reported by patients, with a particular focus on “fear” symptoms; and (3) the evaluation of the outcomes of the treatment, including likelihood ratio (LR) for fear symptoms of mostly prescribed remedies.
Design Prospective observational study.
Setting Individualized homeopathic treatment at private homeopathic surgeries in Italy.
Participants Adult patients asking for homeopathic therapy for a series of common ailments.
Outcome Measures Types of diseases and remedies used and clinical parameters (frequency of acute attacks, and their intensity and duration); the overall outcome of the cure was registered using the Outcome Related to Impact on Daily Living (ORIDL) scale.
Results Only 94 patients could be enrolled by eight homeopathic doctors in a 2-year period between 2015 and 2017. Ninety (72 females, 18 males) patients completed the observation period. The most represented pathologies belonged to the group “Anxiety and anxiety disorders” followed by gastrointestinal ailments. The most prescribed remedy was Phosphorus (9 cases), followed by Natrum muriaticum (4 cases) and Ignatia (4 cases). The intensity of the symptoms and the frequency of the attacks decreased during the course of the study. Most patients reported a positive outcome (ORIDL scale). In the “Phosphorus” group, LR values were calculated for fear symptoms: LR+ for fear of dark = 2.25 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.56 to 9.02), LR− for fear of crowds = 1.27 (95% CI = 1.13 to 1.42), and LR− for fear of ghosts = 1.12 (95% CI = 1.04 to 1.22).
Conclusion The recruited group was smaller than expected, but data from most participants could be collected. Positive clinical outcomes were recorded and LR of a few specific fears contributed to distinguish Phosphorus patients from the remaining population.
Keywordshomeopathy - individualized homeopathy - observational study - anxiety - gastroenteritis - phosphorus - likelihood ratio
• A group of eight qualified homeopathic physicians prospectively reported clinical data of the most frequently treated pathologies observed in their private surgeries.
• During 2 years, only 90 patients completed the study, suggesting that more simple and practical protocols must be set up for large-scale data collection.
• The outcomes subjectively reported (intensity and frequency of symptoms) were positive and statistically significant as compared with the baseline.
• The determination of LR for some “fear” symptoms detected small differences between patients treated with Phosphorus and remaining population.
• The absence of “fear of crowds” was more common in patients treated with Phosphorus than in the remaining population.
- 1 Stolper CF, Rutten AL, Lugten RF, Barthels RJ. Improving homeopathic prescribing by applying epidemiological techniques: the role of likelihood ratio. Homeopathy 2002; 91: 230-238
- 2 Rutten AL. Bayesian homeopathy: talking normal again. Homeopathy 2007; 96: 120-124
- 3 Van Wassenhoven M. Towards an evidence-based repertory: clinical evaluation of Veratrum album. Homeopathy 2004; 93: 71-77
- 4 Rutten AL, Stolper CF, Lugten RF, Barthels RW. Statistical analysis of six repertory rubrics after prospective assessment applying Bayes' theorem. Homeopathy 2009; 98: 26-34
- 5 Miglani A, Rutten L, Manchanda RK. Generalisability of prognostic factor research: further analysis of data from the IIPCOS2 study. Homeopathy 2017; 106: 155-159
- 6 Eizayaga JE, Pozzi MI, Canan MC, Saravia L. Prevalence and likelihood ratio of symptoms in patients with good therapeutic response to Lycopodium clavatum. A retrospective study. Homeopathy 2016; 105: 78-83
- 7 Koley M, Saha S, Das KD. , et al. Prospective evaluation of few homeopathic rubrics of Kent's repertory from Bayesian perspective. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med 2016; 21: 277-281
- 8 Rutten AL, Stolper CF, Lugten RF, Barthels RW. Repertory and likelihood ratio: time for structural changes. Homeopathy 2004; 93: 120-124
- 9 Rutten AL, Stolper CF, Lugten RF, Barthels RW. ‘Cure’ as the gold standard for likelihood ratio assessment: theoretical considerations. Homeopathy 2004; 93: 78-83
- 10 Andreoli B. Likelihood ratio: a tool for a new evolution of homeopathy?. The Homeopathic Heritage 2016; 41: 13-16
- 11 Reilly D, Mercer SW, Bikker AP, Harrison T. Outcome related to impact on daily living: preliminary validation of the ORIDL instrument. BMC Health Serv Res 2007; 7: 139
- 12 Thompson EA, Mathie RT, Baitson ES. , et al. Towards standard setting for patient-reported outcomes in the NHS homeopathic hospitals. Homeopathy 2008; 97: 114-121
- 13 Rossi E, Di Stefano M, Picchi M. , et al. Integration of homeopathy and complementary medicine in the Tuscan Public Health System and the experience of the homeopathic clinic of the Lucca Hospital. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 90-98
- 14 Gorsuch RL. Factor Analysis, 2nd ed. Hillsdale, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1983
- 15 Rutten AL, Stolper CF, Lugten RF, Barthels RW. Is assessment of likelihood ratio of homeopathic symptoms possible? A pilot study. Homeopathy 2003; 92: 213-216