• Golden Eye 0.1% w/v Eye Drops
    Golden Eye Drops Solution
  • Hypromellose 0.3% Eye Drops
    Hypromellose Eye Drops - For Dry Eyes
  • Optrex Bloodshot Eye Drops
    Optrex Bloodshot Eye Drops-ads
  • Viscotears Gel For Dry Eye
    Viscotears Gel For Dry Eye Treatment 10g
  • Golden Eye Chloramphenicol Eye
    Golden Eye Chloramphenicol Eye Ointment
  • Spatone Apple Liquid Iron
    Spatone Apple Liquid Iron Supplement-banner
  • Holland & Barrett Gentle Iron 20mg
    Holland & Barrett Gentle Iron 20mg 90 Capsules-banner
  • Vitabiotics Feroglobin Capsules
    Vitabiotics Feroglobin Capsules-banner

Homeopathic remedies are ‘no more effective than sugar pills’, landmark report declares

Lizzie Parry
A_report_from_Australia_s_National_Health_and_Medical_Research
  • Experts in Australia warn homeopathy ‘may put people at risk’ if they choose to delay or reject traditional medicines
  • Homeopathy is a complementary medicine used by more than 200m people
  • Report found no firm evidence homeopathy is more effective in treating asthma, migraines, stress and colds

Homeopathic medicines are ‘no more effective than placebo’ in treating health problems, new research has concluded.

A team of experts in Australia has warned people who choose homeopathy ‘may put their health at risk’ if they reject or delay traditional, mainstream treatments.

They advise the alternative medicine is not used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or those that have the potential to become serious.

Homeopathy is a form of complementary, holistic medicine used by more than 200 million people across the world.

Advocates advise it is used for both acute and chronic conditions.

It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’, the British Homeopathic Association states.

A report from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council has warned people who choose homeopathy ‘may put their health at risk’ if they reject or delay traditional, mainstream treatments

The idea is that substances that cause illnesses can become remedies in small, highly diluted doses.

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council report assesses the evidence effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions from a total of 225 existing studies, dating back to 1997.

Each was rated by the team from one – very strong – to four – very weak – to determine the research’s reliability.

The council only used studies which were deemed controlled trials – and therefore included a comparison group who were not given homeopathic treatment.

It found there is no conclusive evidence that homeopathy is more effective than placebos in treating patients and easing their symptoms.
The council’s chief executive, professor Warwick Anderson, said: ‘The review shows that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy works better than a placebo.

‘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.’

The researchers found homeopathic treatments were no more effective than sugar pills and other control, pretend medicines to treat asthma, migraines, stress and colds.

WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?

Homeopathy is a form of complementary, holistic medicine used by more than 200 million people across the world.

Advocates advise it is used for both acute and chronic conditions.

It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’, the British Homeopathic Association states.

The idea is that substances that cause illnesses can become remedies in small, highly diluted doses.

The BHA advise it can be used to treat eczema, depression, coughs, the menopause, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, hay fever, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

There were signs it was more effective than placebos for ADHD, bruising, HIV, chronic fatigue, ulcers and depression.

But the council concluded the experiments were not carried out properly and the results were not very reliable.

For a treatment to be considered effective, the council’s Homeopathy Working Committee advised it must result in health improvements that cannot be explained by the placebo effect, and these health improvements must be meaningful for a person’s overall health.

There must also be evidence that the health improvements in people taking the treatment are unlikely to be due to chance and the result must be seen consistently in several studies, the council’s report said.

Professor Anderson concluded: ‘From this review, the main recommendation for Australians is that they should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments.

‘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.’

Homeopathic remedies are prepared by taking a substance, plant, animal or chemical material, diluting it in water or alcohol, then forcefully hitting the container against a hand or surface.

The medicines come in the form of pellets to be placed under the tongue, tablets, liquids, ointments, sprays and creams.

The Australian health council assessed the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines based on three criteria.

In the first instance, they looked at a review of past studies, carried out by an independent contractor

The council found there is no conclusive evidence that homeopathy is more effective than placebos in treating patients and easing their symptoms. Advocates of the alternative medicine say it is useful in treating a range of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, colds, coughs as well as irritable bowel syndrome

In addition, experts considered an independent evaluation of information provided by homeopathy interest groups and the public.
And finally, the council took into consideration clinical practice guidelines and government reports on homeopathy, published in countries across the world.

Cristal Sumner, chief executive of The British Homeopathic Association said the Australian Council’s report ‘seriously misrepresents the nature of the clinical research evidence in homeopathy’.

‘The NHMRC’s conclusion fails to caution that the review admitted that “the evidence base for the majority of clinical conditions was considered of insufficient size to enable clear conclusions on the efficacy of homeopathy to be drawn”,’ she said.
‘Moreover, the review’s focus on medical conditions fails to recognise that homeopathy is based on individualised 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.
‘The NHMRC’s statement also fails to note that its review commended further quality research in homeopathy.’

PUBLISHED : 12 March 2015 | Updated: 12 March 2015. By Lizzie Parry
COPYRIGHT © ninemsn Pty Ltd

About Black Patient

Health Information & Support │www.blackpatient.com │ www.twitter.com/blackpatient │ www.facebook.com/blackpatient

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to SMS

Get text messages such as vaccination reminders, antenatal/postnatal tips, health alerts, disease prevention and more straight to your mobile phone.

Opt out from SMS / Email