Homeopathic treatments in psychiatry

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A  systematically review placebo-controlled randomized trials of homeopathy was conducted for psychiatric conditions. The database on studies of homeopathy concluded that there was possibly some benefit.

Trials were included if they met 7 criteria and were assessed for possible bias using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 50 guidelines. Overall assessments were made using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation procedure. Identified studies were grouped into anxiety or stress, sleep or circadian rhythm complaints, premenstrual problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mild traumatic brain injury, and functional somatic syndromes.

Twenty-five eligible studies were identified from an initial pool of 1,431. Study quality according to SIGN 50 criteria varied, with 6 assessed as good, 9 as fair, and 10 as poor. The outcome was unrelated to SIGN quality. Effect size could be calculated in 16 studies, and number needed to treat, in 10 studies. Efficacy was found for the functional somatic syndromes group (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome), but not for anxiety or stress. For other disorders, homeopathy produced mixed effects. No placebo-controlled studies of depression were identified. Meaningful safety data were lacking in the reports, but the superficial findings suggested good tolerability of homeopathy. A funnel plot in 13 studies did not support publication bias (χ(2)(1) = 1.923, P = .166).

The database on studies of homeopathy and placebo in psychiatry is very limited, but results do not preclude the possibility of some benefit.

Davidson JR, Crawford C, Ives JA, Jonas WB. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jun;72(6):795-805.

Source Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.

Cert IV TAE. ARCHTI mem.