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Study: Homeopathy Puts People at Risk

MD001215A team of experts in Australia has analyzed 225 existing studies on the efficacy of homeopathic formulas and has reached the same conclusion as so many other scientists these days – homeopathic medicines are “no more effective than placebo” in treating health problems.

The Daily Mail Is reporting on the study, conducted by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, which assessed the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathic solutions from 225 existing studies that date back to 1997. Only studies which were deemed to be “controlled trials” were included which means these studies involved a comparison group that were not given homeopathic formulas.

Researchers found that homeopathic treatments were no more effective than sugar pills and other “pretend” medications in treating migraines, asthma, stress, colds, etc.

“The review shows that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy works better than a placebo,” said the council's chief executive, professor Warwick Anderson.

“People who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness. People who are considering whether to use homeopathy should first get advice from a registered health practitioner and in the meanwhile keep taking any prescribed treatments.”

Homeopathic formulas are produced based on the principle of “like cures like” and are prepared by taking a substance – plant, animal, or chemical – diluting it in water or alcohol, then forcefully hitting the container against a hand or surface. Medicines are then fashioned in the form of pellets, tablets, liquids, ointments, sprays and creams.

Cristal Sumner, of the British Homeopathic Association said the Australian Council's report “seriously misrepresents the nature of the clinical research evidence in homeopathy”. She claims that the evidence base for the majority of clinical conditions was of insufficient size to draw conclusions. The study also failed to recognize that homeopathy is based on individualized treatment, not on a named medical condition.

“A recent meta-analysis published by the British Homeopathic Association has provided independently verified evidence that individually prescribed homeopathic medicines may have clinical effects that are greater than those of placebos,” Sumner said.

Professor Anderson disagrees. “This statement was the result of a rigorous examination of the evidence and used internationally accepted methods for assessing the quality and reliability of evidence for determining whether or not a therapy is effective for treating health conditions.”

He goes on to advise that Australians “should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments.”

Click here to read more about recent studies on the efficacy of homeopathy.