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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2017 April;176(4):202-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.16.03275-7


language: English

Is homoeopathy effective or are its effects similar to placebo? A critical analysis of systematic reviews on this topic

Alfonso TRAMONTANA 1, Barbara SIMINOVICH BLOK 2, Alberto MIGLIORE 1, Nicola ROSATO 3, Mauro GRANATA 4, Dario CHIRIACÒ 5

1 University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain; 2 Department of Integrative Health Program, New York School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA; 3 Department of Rhematology, Villa San Pietro Hospital, Rome, Italy; 4 Department of Rheumatology, San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, Italy; 5 School of Homeopathy “C.O.I.” Rome, Italy


INTRODUCTION: Homeopathy is one of the most widespread and popular forms of complementary medicine. There are some studies conducted with strict statistical and scientific criteria that refute the effectiveness of homeopathy; according to these studies, the effects would overlap a placebo effect. Other authors have questioned the fairness of the methodology used in such studies. The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate whether the methods and the criteria employed for choosing the homeopathic remedies administered are in agreement with the laws and the indications described in the Materia Medica.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: The bibliographic research for this review was conducted in Medline, Embase, Scopus and Scholar. Searches were carried out from January 2013 to December 2014. To investigate the correctness of use and choice of the remedies employed in the studies selected, the texts of the most important masters of the homeopathic materia medica were used for comparison.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Only 4 of the 11 (36%) studies selected had a total concordance with the gold standard.
CONCLUSIONS: It is not accurate or even possible to express absolute positive or negative judgments on homeopathy as a clinical methodology. It is clearly evident that it is necessary to realize studies that utilize a correct method of diagnosis and remedy prescription.

KEY WORDS: Homeopathy - Treatment outcome - Complementary therapies - Placebo effect

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