Homeopathy is big business. But oops, it is just selling placebos.
The Lancet, the United Kingdom's leading medical journal, has published a study (lead researcher) on the efficacy of homeopathy.
In a nutshell? No homeopathic remedy has been found to work. Any positive results can be ascribed to the placebo effect. Allopathic medicine, on the other hand, does demonstrate results beyond the placebo effect.
In an editorial, the Lancet urged doctors to tell their patients they were wasting their time taking homeopathic medicines -- but also to make more time to connect with the patients rather than just prescribing and forgetting.
“Now doctors need to be bold and honest with their patients about homeopathy’s lack of benefits, and with themselves about the failings of modern medicine to address patients’ needs for personalized care,” the journal said.
Stand back and watch the homeopaths wriggle out of this one.
It has been established beyond doubt and accepted by many researchers, that the placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial is not a fitting research tool with which to test homeopathy
Bowditch snorts: "In other words 'This stuff is so useless that the standard tests for efficacy of pharmaceuticals can't show that it works, but that's OK because we are going to keep selling it anyway'."
Exerpt from Lancet:
Clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects
The evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies is weak, according to a study. The investigators conclude that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are compatible with placebo effects. Aijing Shang and colleagues compared randomised placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy with matched RCTs of allopathy. When the analysis was restricted to large trials of high quality there was no convincing evidence that homoeopathy was superior to placebo, whereas for conventional medicine an important effect remained
The Lancet 2005; 366:726-732
the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study
of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy.
From MedPage Today
The meta-analysis of findings from 110 homeopathy trials and 110 matched conventional-medicine trials found that the benefits claimed by homeopathy can be explained by placebo effect, according to results reported in the Aug. 27  issue of The Lancet.
The researchers, led by Aijing Shang, Ph.D., of the University of Berne, said that previous reports that homoeopathic treatments were as effective as conventional or allopathic medicine were due to biases present in both homoeopathic and allopathic trials.
But when the biases are stripped away, there is still strong evidence of benefit for conventional treatments but "there was no convincing evidence that homeopathy was superior to placebo."
This finding was supported strongly by an editorial, a commentary, and a news report detailing controversy surrounding a World Health Organization draft report on homeopathy.
The Swiss group analyzed data from controlled trials of treatments or preventive measures with clinical outcomes. All studies were randomized with a parallel-group design and placebo controls and all were described in written reports but not all studies were published. All studies had sufficient data to allow calculation of odds ratios.
For studies in which no main outcome measure was defined, the authors selected outcomes from a pre-determined list: patients' overall assessment of improvement; physicians' assessment of improvement; or the most clinically relevant outcome.
Clinical topics in the trials included respiratory infections, surgery and anesthesiology. Fifty-eight percent of the homeopathy trials and 85% of the conventional medical trials were published in English-language journals.
The Lancet editorial concluded that based on the evidence doctors should be "bold and honest with their patients about homeopathy's lack of benefit, and with themselves about the failings of modern medicine to address patients' needs for personalized care."
In the commentary, Jan P. Vandenbroucke, M.D., Ph.D., of Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands wrote that "Shang and colleagues arrive at a class judgment about homeopathy that will be gladly accepted by many who always thought homoeopathic evidence was contaminated. Others will claim this analysis amounts to 'data dredging.'"
But, he added that allopathic medicine provides the ultimate proof of efficacy, "by preventing, alleviating, and curing disease ever more effectively."
And connecting the dots: The Questionable Authority compares and contrasts the intellectual heft of homeopathy and intelligent design.