A Homeopathic Medication Can Improve Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in COPD Patients: EPOXILO Cohorts Study
05 February 2020 (online)
Background: Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can be triggered by Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs), viral aetiology being of increasingly higher importance. A homeopathic approach to viral URTI in COPD patients could help reduce its frequency and related exacerbations.
Methods: Prospective, cohorts, multi-center study in Cantabria (Spain), with 219 COPD patients taking a weekly dose of the homeopathic medicine Oscillococcinum (HG = 109) or not (CG = 110) added to conventional treatment and following usual practice. Main objective was measuring the number of URTIs (follow-up of 4–5 months). Secondary endpoints included duration of URTIs, number and duration of COPD exacerbations, use of drugs, quality of life and adverse events.
Results: There was a significant reduction in the mean number of URTIs in HG compared to CG (0.51 vs 1.04), with a difference of −0.52 (CI 95% [−0.84; −0.20], p = 0.001) and 3.3 times more likelihood of suffering ≥2 URTI episodes in CG (p = 0.003). The mean duration of the episodes was reduced in HG patients (3.57 vs 5.22 days; p = 0.012). When looking at the exacerbator phenotype patients, there was a significant decrease in number of URTIs (0.54 vs 1.31; p = 0.011) and fewer COPD exacerbations (0.9 vs 1.5; p = 0.037). The prescription of exacerbation-corticoids was decreased in both groups between baseline and visit 2, but more reduced in HG (22.1% vs 7.5%; p = 0.005). Other variables did not reach statistically significant differences between groups.
Conclusions: The use of this homeopathic medicine by COPD patients may have a beneficial impact in reducing the number and duration of URTIs and can positively impact the number of COPD exacerbations in patients with the exacerbator phenotype. Confirmation with studies with a greater sample size and a longer follow-up should be pursued.
Keywords: COPD, homeopathy, URTI, exacerbation, cohorts