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Results: In total, 38 primary reports met our inclusion criteria. Of those, 30 pertained to direct adverse events (AEs) of homeopathic remedies; and eight were related to AEs caused by the substitution of conventional medicine with homeopathy. The total number of patients who experienced AEs of homeopathy amounted to 1159. Overall, AEs ranged from mild-to-severe and included four fatalities. The most common AEs were allergic reactions and intoxications. Rhus toxidendron was the most frequently implicated homeopathic remedy.  Conclusion: Homeopathy has the potential to harm patients and consumers in both direct and indirect ways. Clinicians should be aware of its risks and advise their patients accordingly.  P. Posadzki, A. Alotaibi, E. Ernst, International Journal of Clinical Practice (20th November 2012)

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Conclusion: “Reviewed trials of homoeopathic treatments for cutaneous diseases were highly variable in methods and quality. We did not find sufficient evidence from these studies that homoeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single dermatological condition.” Simonart T, Kabagabo C, De Maertelaer V. Br J Dermatol. 2011 Oct;165(4):897-905

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"It seemed until this month that burial had been the fate of a trial of homeopathy at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, run by Dr Elizabeth Thompson…In March 2006 the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust announced a trial that was being run by Dr Elizabeth Thompson at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital…in July 2011, four years after it was promised, the paper appeared, in the journal Homeopathy…The paper is: The feasibility of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial to compare usual care with usual care plus individualised homeopathy, in children requiring secondary care for asthma [full text].  It’s not surprising that publication was delayed. The results are completely negative. In fact it shows that the homeopathic treatment didn’t even produce a placebo effect, never mind an effect of its own…The authors’ conclusions are simple “Conclusions: A future study using this design is not feasible”. That’s pretty feeble. They don’t state the conclusion as "homeopathy doesn’t work", far less that "homeopathy doesn’t even have a placebo effect"."  DC Science (27th July 2011)

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“Contrary to expectation, our survey suggests that among patients consulting orthodox medical practitioners, the majority of respondents believe that they understand how homeopathy works, that it is supported by scientific evidence, is concentrated, and helps the condition for which it was being taken. These findings suggest that scientific evidence is not communicated well to the lay public, but, contrarily, homeopathy is being marketed effectively and still has considerable appeal to general members of the public. In addition, as most homeopathy users believed that it works despite the complete lack of scientific plausibility or evidence, there must be other explanations for its apparent success including placebo responses and confusion between clinical improvements due to homeopathy and the natural history of the illness.” Shaun Holt MD and Andrew Gilbey PhD, The New Zealand Medical Journal (22nd May 2009) [pdf]

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“Homoeopathy is often advocated for fibromyalgia (FM) and many FM patients use it. To critically evaluate all randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of homoeopathy as a treatment for FM, six electronic databases were searched to identify all relevant studies. Data extraction and the assessment of the methodological quality of all included studies were done by two independent reviewers. Four RCTs were found, including two feasibility studies. Three studies were placebo-controlled. None of the trials was without serious flaws. Invariably, their results suggested that homoeopathy was better than the control interventions in alleviating the symptoms of FM. Independent replications are missing. Even though all RCTs suggested results that favour homoeopathy, important caveats exist. Therefore, the effectiveness of homoeopathy as a symptomatic treatment for FM remains unproven.” Perry R, Terry R, Ernst E. Clin Rheumatol. (2010 May;29(5):457-64)

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We briefly recap some of the major arguments on each side, but we try to go further by making explicit an underlying philosophical presupposition. In particular, we will claim that there is an important principle, which has ancient roots going back at least to Occam, some version of which constrains all empirical reasoning. We call this constraint the simplicity principle. We argue that this is not something specific to a scientific paradigm, but that, all of us, including proponents of homeopathy, are themselves deeply committed to the simplicity principle. However, once the simplicity principle is made explicit and applied to homeopathy, allegiance to homeopathy is clearly seen as irrational. The point is not merely the lack of clinical trials supporting homeopathy; rather, belief in the efficacy of homeopathy leaves a mountain of unexplained mysteries, and thereby flies in the face of the simplicity rule that guides the homeopaths' own reasoning and arguments. If nothing else, we hope that defenders of homeopathy will gain a greater understanding of why critics are so deeply reluctant to accept the efficacy of homeopathic interventions - and that this reluctance is not mere stubbornness or artificial allegiance to western medicine. Finally, we also hope thereby to illustrate the usefulness of philosophy in unearthing presuppositions in seemingly deadlocked debates.” Sehon S, Stanley D., J Eval Clin Pract. (April 2010)

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CONCLUSIONS: The limited evidence available does not demonstrate a statistically significant effect of homeopathic medicines for insomnia treatment. Existing RCTs were of poor quality and were likely to have been underpowered. Well-conducted studies of homeopathic medicines and treatment by a homeopath are required to examine the clinical and cost effectiveness of homeopathy for insomnia. Cooper KL, Relton C., Sleep Med Rev. (9th March 2010)

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CONCLUSIONS: In the study setting, there was no evidence of effects of A. montana and B. alba combination on bleeding, inflammation, pain or myocardial ischaemia. Cornu C, Joseph P, Gaillard S, Bauer C, Vedrinne C, Bissery A, Melot G, Bossard N, Belon P, Lehot JJ., Br J Clin Pharmacol. (2010 Feb;69(2):136-42.)

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“Although homeopathic remedies do not directly harm patients, it is very possible that harm could befall homeopathy patients who refrain from seeking traditional medicine. Patients in the NHS could be indirectly harmed if funds are spent on homeopathy that could have been spent on mainstream care. Patients who are prescribed homeopathic treatments are very possibly being deceived, and thus are being treated unethically. And homeopathy is currently weakening public confidence in the NHS, the MHRA and science and medicine in general, and also doing a disservice to efficacious forms of complementary medicine. Most of these unethical effects could be minimised by withdrawing NHS funding for homeopathic practice, and educating the public about the lack of an evidence base for homeopathy. In other words, it would be more ethical for the NHS to stick to treatments of proven worth. There was once a homeopathic hospital in Tunbridge Wells, but it was closed because ‘the NHS has to decide the best use of money on the evidence of clinical effectiveness’. Other NHS trusts would do well to follow this example.” David M. Shaw, J Med Ethics (2010 36: 130-131) [pdf]

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Conclusion: "We found no evidence that active homeopathy improves the symptoms of RA, over 3 months, in patients attending a routine clinic who are stabilized on NSAIDs or DMARDs". P. Fisher and D. L. Scott (Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital), Rheumatology (2001)

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Concluding remarks: "Therapeutic decisions should be based foremost on an assessment of the potential risk versus proven benefit. For homeopathy, the benefit side of this equation is currently not clearly defined: the best available evidence does not convincingly show benefits over and above those of placebo. The risks of homeopathy are probably relatively small. But even small risks can weigh heavy if the benefit is uncertain, small or totally absent. If one adds to all this, the scientific implausibility of the basic concepts that underlie homeopathic thinking, the inescapable conclusion is not positive: 250 years after the birth of its 'inventor' homeopathy is not associated with a risk-benefit profile that is demonstrably positive." Edzard Ernst, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol.26 No.11 (November 2005) [pdf]

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The reviewers, who call provings one of homeopathy's "pillars," concluded that, "The central question of whether homeopathic medicines in high dilutions can provoke effects in healthy volunteers has not yet been definitively answered because of methodological weaknesses of the reports." In other words despite more than 200 years of supposed testing the homeopathic community has failed to validate its basic method of remedy selection. The reviewers call for better designed provings to provide "results that can be trusted". (Dantas F. et al Homeopathy 96:4-16 2007)

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"Homeopathy is among the worst examples of faith-based medicine that gathers shrill support of celebrities and other powerful lobbies in place of a genuine and humble wish to explore the limits of our knowledge using the scientific method….We are often accused of tilting at windmills; and hey, what's wrong with offering placebos for the worried well with self-limiting conditions? Well firstly, it is considered unethical for modern medical practitioners to sink to this kind of deception that denies the patient his or her autonomy. Secondly, by opening the door to irrational medicine alongside evidence-based medicine, we are poisoning the minds of the public. Finally, if we don't put a brake on the increasing self-confidence of the homeopathic establishment, they will cease to limit their attention to self-limiting or nonspecific maladies. Already, an investigative journalist for Newsnight has exposed the willingness of homeopathic chemists to offer homeopathic prophylactics for malaria. On World AIDS Day, the Society of Homeopaths in London hosted a conference on the treatment and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome by using water with a remarkable memory." By Michael Baum, MD, ChM, FRCS, FRCR (hon) and Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCPEd, The American Journal of Medicine (November 2009) [Full text]

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"There is no evidence at all that homeopathic remedies can change the natural history of any cancer….. there is no reason to believe that homeopathic medicines have anything to offer to patients suffering from cancer or other conditions apart from non-specific effects. However, to generate the placebo effect, we do not necessarily need placebos." Article by Edzard Ernst, MD PhD, Current Oncology (August 2007)

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"The analysis of published literature on homoeopathy found insufficient evidence to support the clinical efficacy of homoeopathic therapy in cancer care." Review of Milazzo S, Russell N, Ernst E. Efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer treatment. Eur J Cancer 2006; 42: 282-9. Focus Alternative and Complementary Therapies (June 2006)

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Conclusions: The results demonstrate that the highly diluted homeopathic remedies used by homeopathic practitioners for cancer show no measurable effects on cell growth or gene expression in vitro using currently available methodologies. Thangapazham RL, Gaddipati JP, Rajeshkumar NV, Sharma A, Singh AK, Ives JA, Maheshwari RK, Jonas WB, Integrative Cancer Therapies, Vol. 5, No. 4, 356-361 (2006)

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Interpretation: "Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects." Aijing Shang, Karin Hawiler-Muntener, Linda Nartey, Peter Juni, Stephan Dorig, Jonathan A. C. Sterne, Daniel Pewsner, Matthias Egger; Lancet 2005; 366: 726-32 (27th Aug. — 2nd Sept. 2005) [pdf]