The largest study ever conducted by an official body on homeopathy concludes that homeopathy not only works, but is more economical than conventional medicine.
The Swiss Government has a long history of neutrality and perhaps for this reason the reports of this Government on controversial issues should be taken more into account than other reports from countries that are more influenced by current economic and political circumstances.
When it is known that two of the top five drug manufacturing companies are based in Switzerland, you might think that this country has a lot of interest in conventional medicine, but this assumption leads to error.
At the end of 2011, a report was published by the Swiss Government on Homeopathic Medicine, representing the most complete assessment of Homeopathic Medicine published by a Government, and has recently appeared in English ( Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety , Costs, Bornhoft and Matthiessen, Springer ). This report states that homeopathic treatment is effective and cost-effective and should be included within Switzerland’s national health program.
The Swiss government’s investigations into homeopathy and complementary and alternative treatments respond to high demand and widespread use in Switzerland of conventional medicine, not only by consumers, but also by doctors. Approximately half the population of Switzerland uses complementary and alternative medicine treatments and values them. And in addition, about half of the Swiss doctors consider effective complementary and alternative treatments. Perhaps most importantly, 85% of the Swiss population prefer therapies of this type that are part of the national health program.
Since 1998, the Government of Switzerland has decided to expand its national health system including certain complementary and alternative medicines, including homeopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, anthroposophic medicine and neural therapy. The reimbursement of the costs of these patients was an interim measure, while the Swiss government commissioned a study to determine whether they were effective and cost-effective. The provisional reimbursement for these alternative treatments ended in 2005, but as a result of this study, the national health program has again begun to reimburse homeopathic treatments and other alternative treatments. In fact, as a result of a national referendum, more than two-thirds of voters supported the inclusion of alternative and homeopathic medicines within the national health program (Dacey, 2009; Rist, Schwabl, 2009).
Swiss Government: Health Technology Assessment
The assessment of health technologies in homeopathic medicine is by far the largest report ever published by a government. Not only does this report carefully and comprehensively review the randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials of homeopathic remedies, it has also evaluated its “real-world effectiveness” as well as safety and the relationship between Cost and effectiveness. The report also carries out a comprehensive review of preclinical investigations (physicochemical investigations, botanical studies, animal and in vitro studies with human cells).
And there is more, this report evaluates systematic reviews and meta-analyzes, study results and epidemiological research. This comprehensive review carefully evaluates the studies carried out, both for the quality of its design and for its execution (what is called internal validity) and how it is brought into common homeopathic practice (external validity). The issue of external validity is of great importance because there are scientists and physicians who perform studies on homeopathy and have no knowledge of this type of medication (some studies show that certain homeopathic medicines are used very little for testing, whereas Others use medications that are not indicated for certain patients). When these studies showed that homeopathic medicine did not work, an accurate evaluation indicated that such studies had been designed to refute homeopathy … or simply, the study was an exploratory trial that sought to evaluate the results of a new treatment (exploratory tests of this nature Are not intended to prove or refute homeopathic medicines, but only to evaluate treatment for a person in a specific situation).
“This report evaluates systematic reviews and meta-analyzes, study results and epidemiological research.”
After basic preclinical research and high-quality studies, the Swiss government’s report states that “high-potency” homeopathic medicines appear to induce regulatory effects (eg, balance or normalization of effects) and specific changes in cells And living organisms. The report also notes that 20 of the 22 systematic reviews of clinical research prove that homeopathic medicines mark a trend in favor of homeopathy “(Bornhöft, Wolf von Ammon, et al, 2006).
The Swiss report found evidence supporting the homeopathic treatment of respiratory tract infections and respiratory allergies.The report cites 29 studies on “Upper respiratory tract infections and allergic reactions”, 24 of which offer a positive result in favor of homeopathy. In addition, six of the seven controlled studies comparing homeopathic treatment with conventional medical treatment showed that homeopathy is more effective than conventional medical interventions (the study found another homeopathic treatment equivalent to conventional medical treatment). All these results of the homeopathic treatment did not carry the common side effects in the conventional pharmacological treatment. When evaluating only randomized placebo-controlled trials, 12 of the 16 studies showed a positive result in favor of homeopathy.
The authors of the Swiss government report acknowledge that part of the overall review of research includes negative reviews of homeopathic clinical research (Shang, et al, 2005). However, the authors noted that this review of the research has been widely criticized by both advocates and detractors of homeopathy. The report notes that the Shang team does not even adhere to the guidelines of QUORUM, which are widely recognized as standards for scientific information (Linde, Jonas, 2005). The Shang team initially evaluated 110 homeopathic clinical trials and then tried to compare them with 110 conventional medical trials. Shan and her team determined 22 high-quality homeopathic studies, against only 9 high-quality studies in the field of conventional medicine. Instead of comparing these high quality trials (which would have given a positive result for homeopathy), the Shang team set criteria that ignored most high quality homeopathic studies, thereby supporting their original hypothesis and Established prejudices around which homeopathic medicines are not effective (Lüdtke, Rutten, 2008).
The Swiss report also notes that David Sackett, a Canadian physician who is considered as one of the pioneers in “evidence-based medicine”, has expressed deep concern to researchers and clinicians as it is considered that only double-blind clinical trials Are the means to determine whether a treatment is effective or not. To make this claim, it should be recognized that virtually all surgical procedures are unscientific or untested, because very few have been randomized to double-blind trials.
In my opinion, for a treatment to be considered effective or scientifically proven, a much more thorough evaluation of what is usually done is required. Ultimately, the Swiss Government’s report on homeopathy represents an evaluation of homeopathy, including an assessment of double-blind randomized clinical trials, as well as other evidence, all of which together determine that homeopathic remedies are Effective.
Original text appeared in The Huffington Post.
What is homeopathy?
Discovered at the end of the eighteenth century, thanks to the observations and experiments of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is based on a biological reality, known by Hippocrates, the law of similarity: “Any substance capable of causing pathological symptoms in a healthy individual, Is capable, at infinitesimal doses, of treating those symptoms in a sick individual. ” Discovered at the end of the eighteenth century, thanks to the observations and experiments of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is based on a biological reality, known by Hippocrates, the law of similarity: “Any substance capable of causing pathological symptoms in a healthy individual, Is capable, at infinitesimal doses, of treating those symptoms in a sick individual. ” This exact knowledge of the similarity between the drug and the disease justifies the specific goal of Homeopathy to individualize the patient and their treatment, using each person’s reaction capacities. Applying these principles, homeopathy uses organic substances, minerals and vegetables to stimulate the body’s immune defenses. In this way, the body can mobilize its own defenses, against pathogens, viruses and bacteria, and restore its balance, destabilized by the aggressions of modern life (stress, pollution, etc.). Homeopathy is based on two laws: the law of similarity or law of fellow beings and the law of infinitesimality.
In homeopathy, and especially in chronic diseases, the goal is to go beyond the relief of the symptoms that are appearing, it seeks to help the patient to restore overall their natural balance. To this end, the homeopathic doctor in the consultation will take into account, in addition to the symptoms or health problems that the patient presents, their physical constitution and their way of reacting and sensations in front of the disease, besides factors of improvement or of worsening. That is why it is said that the treatment, in homeopathy, is more personalized.