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Assessing the Evidence Base for Homeopathy

A Health Technology Assessment report on homeopathy commissioned by the Swiss government, has concluded that homeopathy is clinically effective, cost-effective and safe. This HTA report exhaustively reviews the scientific literature and its unambiguous, positive conclusions have resulted in homeopathy being included on the list of medical treatments which are reimbursed through Switzerland’s national health insurance scheme. (‘Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs’ by Gudrun Bornhöft and Peter F. Matthiessen, 2011).

                                                         Bristol Patient Outcome Study

One of the most comprehensive outcome studies was an analysis of over 23000 outpatient consultations at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital from 1997 to 2003. This represented over 6500 individual patients whose outcome was recorded as a follow up. More than 70% of these follow up patients recorded clinical improvement following homeopathic treatment in conditions including asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, chrohn's disease, eczema, headache, IBS, menopausal symptoms and rheumatoid arthritis. Most of the patients had previously received mainstream medical intervention and had either failed to respond or couldn't tolerate the medication prescribed. (www.britishhomeopathic.org/bristol-patient-outcome-study/)

Did You Know:
Celebrities:
Paul McCartney, David Beckham, Twiggy, Caprice, Susan Hampshire, Tina Turner, Louise Jameson, Gaby Roslin, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Nadia Sawalha, Jennifer Aniston, Jade Jagger, Roger Daltry, Annabel Croft and Meera Syal, as well as The Queen and Prince Charles, are all reported to be users of homeopathy.


Placebo Effect

Detractors of homeopathy continue to suggest that any beneficial effects of homeopathy are due to placebo alone. Over a period of 18 years Dr Reilly’s team at Glasgow University conducted four double blind placebo controlled trials, specifically designed to examine the evidence for this placebo hypothesis. All four trials, involving a total of 252 patients, produced similar positive results, demonstrating that homeopathy has an effect greater than placebo and that these results are reproducible. (Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, et al. Randomised controlled trials of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. British Medical Journal 2000; 321: 471–6)

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