Artikel av homeopat Dana Ullman
A Study Comparing Homeopathic Treatment and Ritalin
Numerous studies testing Ritalin have found it to be effective in the short term. The question then becomes: how does homeopathic treatment compare with it?
A study in Switzerland evaluated 115 children (92 boys, 23 girls) with an average age of 8.3 years at diagnosis of ADD/ADHD (Frei and Thurneysen, 2001). The children were first treated with an individually chosen homeopathic medicine. Children who did not improve sufficiently on homeopathy were changed to Ritalin and evaluated after 3 months. After an average treatment time of 3.5 months, 75 percent of the children responded favorably to homeopathy, attaining an improvement rating of 73 percent. Twenty-two percent of the children were treated with Ritalin and attained an improvement rating of 65 percent.
The children were evaluated according to the Conners Global Index (CGI), which is the most respected scale that measures the degree of hyperactivity and attention deficit symptoms. The children who responded to the homeopathic medicine experienced a 55-percent amelioration of the CGI, while the children who responded to Ritalin experienced a 48-percent amelioration of the CGI. Three children didn’t respond to homeopathy or Ritalin, and one child left the study before completion. The researchers concluded that homeopathic treatment was comparable in its benefits to Ritalin — and homeopathic medicines simply do not have the side effects that Ritalin has.
Because this study was not placebo-controlled, one does not know if the good results are from the homeopathic medicine or from the homeopathic interview (or a combination of them both). In any case, this study showed that 75 percent of the children with ADD/ADHD benefited from the “package of care” provided by homeopaths, a better result than the “package of care” provided by conventional pediatricians. Although skeptics of homeopathy insist that homeopathic medicines are placebos, these skeptics unwittingly suggest the metaphysical thesis that each homeopath is magically endowed with special healing powers, especially since most people who seek homeopathic treatment experience chronic problems for which long-term conventional medical treatment has not provided adequate resolution.
Major Study Published in the European Journal of Pediatrics
Although the previous study was not double-blind or placebo-controlled, this next study was both — and even more. It included a sophisticated research design that included a “crossover” effect — that is, half of the patients begin with a placebo treatment, while the other half begin with a homeopathic treatment, and then, after 6 weeks, the groups each receive the other treatment. This sophisticated design therefore seeks to compare each child under homeopathic treatment with that same child under a placebo.
The famed European Journal of Pediatrics published an article that included two studies: a clinical observation study followed by a randomized, double-blind trial. These studies concluded that homeopathy has positive effects in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Frei, Everts, von Ammon, et al., 2005). A total of 83 children aged 6 to 16 years, with ADHD diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria, were recruited.
Prior to the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study, the children were treated with individually prescribed homeopathic medications. The 62 patients, who achieved an improvement of at least 50 percent in the Conners’ Global Index (CGI), participated in the trial. The responders were split into two groups and received either homeopathy for six weeks followed by placebo for six weeks (arm A), or vice-versa (arm B).
At the beginning of the trial and after each crossover period, parents reported the CGI and patients underwent neuropsychological testing. The CGI rating was evaluated again at the end of each crossover period and twice in long-term follow-up. At entry to the crossover trial, cognitive performance, such as visual global perception, impulsivity and divided attention, had improved significantly under open label treatment (p<0.0001). During the crossover trial, CGI parent-ratings were significantly lower (this means the child was “better”) under homeopathic treatment (average 1.67 points) than under placebo (p=0.0479). Ultimately, the CGI and parent ratings showed a 37-percent and 63-percent improvement over the long-term observation period of 14 weeks (p<0.0001). The teachers also found an improvement in the homeopathic treated group vs. placebo in the CGI by 28 percent and in the teachers’ rating scale by 37 percent.
An interesting feature of this study was that the homeopaths only met with each child once and carried out follow-up visits only with the child’s parents. This strategy was to minimize the child’s contact with the homeopath in order to minimize possible psychological support from the clinician.
A Double-Blind Study Using a New Unconventional Style of Homeopathy
It should be freely acknowledged that not all studies verify the efficacy of homeopathic medicines. Because the results of homeopathy are best evaluated when these medicines are individually selected to each patient, some clinicians are simply better and more accurate prescribers of these medicines.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted with 43 children between 6 and 12 years of age who met the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD (Jacobs, Williams, Girard, et al., 2005). The 43 subjects were randomized to receive a homeopathic consultation and either an individualized homeopathic remedy or a placebo. Patients were seen by homeopathic physicians every six weeks for 18 weeks. In this pilot study, a new, unconventional style of homeopathy was practiced by the physicians, called the “Bombay method” (also known as the “Sensation method”).
There were no statistically significant differences between homeopathic remedy and placebo groups on the primary or secondary outcome variables, including the Conner Global Index scale and various other scales. However, there were statistically and clinically significant improvements in both groups on many of the outcome measures.
This pilot study provided no evidence to support a therapeutic effect of individually selected homeopathic remedies in children with ADHD. The researchers concluded that a therapeutic effect of the overall homeopathic package of care (the homeopathic encounter and homeopathic medicine) was beneficial and warranted further evaluation.
A Double-Blind Study Comparing Homeopathy and Placebo
John Lamont, Ph.D., a psychologist in Southern California, conducted a trial of 43 children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Lamont, 1997). He randomly assigned half of the children to receive a placebo and the other half to homeopathic treatment. The researcher, the parents and the children did not know which child was given the homeopathic medicine or the placebo.
The evaluations of improvement were based on parent or caretaker ratings of ADHD behaviors. A simple 5-point scale was used: Much worse (-2); a little worse (-1); no change (0); a little better (+1); much better (+2). Parents or caretakers were contacted by telephone 10 days after the remedy or placebo was taken and again after two months.
To avoid any potential influence from the homeopath, he had no further contact with children except during the initial testing and case-taking interview. Even the medicine was not given directly to the patient by the homeopath but was sent via the mail.
All children in the experiment came from foster homes or from parents under the supervision of social workers. The average age was 10, and there was a mixture of races: 47 percent Hispanic, 35 percent Black and 18 percent Caucasian.
The children were only accepted into the trial if they fit the specific criteria for ADHD, as determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV). Children who were on medication for ADHD could be accepted for the study but only if they had been on this medication for at least six weeks. The latter condition was determined because Dr. Lamont didn’t consider it wise to admit children new to medication in the trial, as it then could not be ascertained whether improvement was the result of their conventional or homeopathic medicine.
Half the children were given an individualized homeopathic medicine, and half were given a placebo that resembled a homeopathic medicine for 10 days. After this, the half that was given a placebo received an individualized homeopathic medicine. Neither the children nor their parents were told that they might be given a placebo, because the researcher did not want to influence the parent or the child with the knowledge that the second round of medicines would be the “real” ones.
Only the 200C potency of an individualized homeopathic medicine was used, based on the homeopath’s small pilot study of 15 patients in which a trend was observed that the 200C was more effective than 30C.
The mean improvement scores after 10 days were .35 for the placebo group and 1.00 for the homeopathically treated group (p=.05). The greatest improvements were noticed by the third day, while a smaller number showed improvement after 10 days.
Children who were initially given a placebo were given a homeopathic prescription after 10 days and then compared with their earlier score. The mean improvement scores were .35 for the placebo group and 1.13 after a homeopathic medicine was given (p=.02).
When parents reported that improvement from the treatment was not obvious, the homeopath prescribed a second or a third remedy. When comparing the results after these remedies, improvement from the homeopathic group was 1.63 and from the placebo group was .35 (p=.01).
Besides the improvement 10 days after the homeopathic medicine, follow-up interviews observed that the majority of children treated homeopathically experienced sustained and increased improvement in their condition. In total, after two months, 57 percent of children experienced continued improvement; 24 percent showed improvement for several days or weeks following homeopathic treatment, but relapsed by the two-month interview; and 19 percent said that they only observed improvement while taking homeopathic treatment (one could guess that this improvement was primarily from the placebo effect).
A second homeopathic remedy was given to 18 of 43 subjects, and seven required a third remedy. Phone calls were made 10 days after each remedy, and if it seemed that the remedy was not working, a different medicine would be prescribed.
Only three children were dropped from the trial, and this was the result of changes in dosage of anti-ADHD prescription after homeopathic treatment.
In summary, this study showed that the effects of the homeopathic medicine were relatively rapid (usually within three days) and a two-month follow-up found that 57 percent of the children experienced sustained and increased improvement. Read more