Homeopathy in Acute Care Medicine
Part of a Compendium of Homeopathic Research
Ron Whitmont, MD
Tina Quirk, RN, MS, CCH
Peter Gold, BS
Paola Brown, Pres. of Americans for Homeopathy Choice
The use of Complementary Medicine is commonplace throughout the world as the World Health Organization (WHO) attests:
“T&CM [Traditional and Complementary Medicine] is an important and often underestimated part of health care. T&CM is found in almost every country in the world and the demand for its services is increasing. T&CM, of proven quality, safety, and efficacy, contributes to the goal of ensuring that all people have access to care. Many countries now recognize the need to develop a cohesive and integrative approach to health care that allows governments, health care practitioners and, most importantly, those who use health care services, to access T&CM in a safe, respectful, cost-efficient and effective manner. A global strategy to foster its appropriate integration, regulation and supervision will be useful to countries wishing to develop a proactive policy towards this important - and often vibrant and expanding - part of health care.”1
Homeopathy has a strong record of quality, safety and efficacy over a 200-plus year period.
“Homeopathy is used by just over 2% of the U.S. population, predominantly for respiratory, otorhinolaryngology, and musculoskeletal complaints. Individual users who see a homeopathic provider for care are more likely to perceive the therapy as helpful than those who do not; however, only 19% of users in the United States see a provider.”2
Eighty one percent of those who utilize homeopathy do so by purchasing over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathy in Acute Care Studies
Many studies demonstrate the benefits of using homeopathy over a wide range of conditions. The following are a few of the most outstanding
studies demonstrating efficacy in the treatment of acute diseases. Many authors note that the use of homeopathic medicine decreases the useof conventional antibiotics, psychotropics, steroids, and other medications. A search of PubMed revealed the following studies which were published in peer-reviewed medical journals. The range of clinical conditions addressed using homeopathy included upper respiratory tractinfections (URTI), sleep disorders, respiratory allergies, acute otitis media (ear infections), traumatic brain injury, severe sepsis, and perioperative use of Arnica for reduction of ecchymosis after surgery.
EPI3 Study 1- Homeopathic medical practice for URTI: cohort study
The EPI3 survey was a nationwide population-based study of a representative sample of 825 General Practitioners (GP) and their patients in France between 2007-2008. Five hundred and eighteen adults and children with URTI’s were included.
The results of this study over a one-, three- and twelve-month follow-up period, demonstrated that: “Patients who chose to consult GPs certified in homeopathy used less antibiotics and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs for URTI than those seen by GPs prescribing conventional medications….”3
EPI3 Study 3- Utilization of psychotropic drugs by patients consulting for sleeping disorders in homeopathic and conventional primary care settings
Three hundred and forty-six patients consulting for sleep disorders (SD) were included in this study that determined: “Patients with SD who chose to consult GPs certified in homeopathy consumed less psychotropic drugs and had a similar evolution of their condition to patients treated with conventional medical management. This result may translate in a net advantage with reduction of adverse events related to psychotropic drugs.”4
Effectiveness, safety and tolerability of a complex homeopathic medicinal product in the prevention of recurrent acute upper respiratory tract infections in children: a multi-center, open, comparative, randomized, controlled clinical trial.
The effectiveness, safety and tolerability of two complex homeopathic medicines in the treatment and prevention of recurrent acute URTIs in children were compared. Authors concluded that: “Both complex homeopathic products led to a comparable reduction of URTIs… The observation that the use of antibiotics was reduced upon treatment with the complex homeopathic medications, without the occurrence of complications, is interesting and warrants further investigations… as an antibiotic sparing option.”5
Homeopathy in acute otitis media in children: treatment effect or spontaneous resolution?
Two hundred and thirty children with acute otitis media (AOM) received individualized homeopathic medicine. If pain-reduction was insufficient after 6 hours, a different homeopathic medicine was administered. After 12 hours, children who had not reached pain control were treated with antibiotics. The authors concluded: “Pain control was achieved in 39% of the patients after 6 hours, another 33% after 12 hours. This resolution rate is 2.4 times faster than in placebo controls. There were no complications observed in the study group and compared to conventional treatment the approach was 14% cheaper.”6
Homeopathy and respiratory allergies: a series of 147 cases.
The progress of 147 cases of respiratory allergy in private homeopathic practice were reported. Out of 105 cases of ear, nose and throat (ENT) allergies, only two failed to improve, and none worsened. Out of 42 cases of pulmonary allergies, only two cases worsened and three failed to improve. Authors concluded: “The reasons for such a state have been reviewed. If all these cases were therapeutic failures, the success rate of the homeopathic treatment is 87.6%.”7
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury RCT Pilot Study
Sixty patients were studied at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
"These results indicate a significant improvement from the homeopathic treatment versus control and translate into clinically significant outcomes."8
Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in an intensive care unit
Seventy patients with severe sepsis received homeopathic treatment (n=35) or placebo (n=35). Survival after a 30 and 180 days was recorded.
“Our data suggest that homeopathic treatment may be a useful additional therapeutic measure with a long-term benefit for severely septic patients admitted to the intensive care unit. A constraint to wider application of this method is the limited number of trained homeopaths.”9
Perioperative Arnica montana for Reduction of Ecchymosis in Rhinoplasty Surgery.
Subjects scheduled for rhinoplasty surgery with nasal bone osteotomies by a single surgeon were prospectively randomized to receive either oral perioperative Arnica montana or placebo in a double-blinded fashion. The authors concluded: “Arnica montana seems to accelerate postoperative healing, with quicker resolution of the extent and the intensity of ecchymosis after osteotomies in rhinoplasty surgery, which may dramatically affect patient satisfaction.”10
Not only is the utilization of homeopathy in many parts of the world common, but substantial evidence of its efficacy in acute and emergency conditions indicates a cost-effective model for complementing conventional medicine, while avoiding many of the pitfalls of antibiotic and pain medication over-use. Homeopathy certainly deserves much more research dedicated toward understanding its usefulness and applications in the field of public health.
About the author
Alex Bekker, MD, ABIHM is a General Practice physician, diplomate of Integrative Holistic Medicine, with many years of Emergency Department experience, who regularly useshomeopathy to treat his patients. He resides in Texas.
*The information in this article is intended for informational purposes only. Please remember, if you have any of the conditions mentioned in this article, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed practitioner for treatment options.
1 WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014-2023. https://www.who.int/medicines/publications/traditional/trm_strategy14_23/en/
2 Dossett ML, Davis RB, Kaptchuk TJ. Homeopathy Use by US Adults: Results of a National Survey. Am J Public Health 2016;106(4):743-5.
3 Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Begaud B, Rossignol M. Management of upper respiratory tract infections by different medical practices, including
homeopathy, and consumption of antibiotics in primary care: the EPI3 cohort study in France 2007-2008. PLoS One 2014;9(3):e89990.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089990. eCollection 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3960096/
4 Grimaldi-Bensouda L, Abenhaim L, Massol J, et al. Utilization of psychotropic drugs by patients consulting for sleeping disorders in
homeopathic and conventional primary care settings: the EPI3 cohort study. Homeopathy 2015;104(3):170-5.
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.05.002. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26143449/
5 Jong MC, Buskin SL, Ilyenko L, et al. Effectiveness, safety and tolerability of a complex homeopathic medicinal product in the prevention of
recurrent acute upper respiratory tract infections in children: a multicenter, open, comparative, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Multidiscip
Respir Med 2016;11:19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4868034/
6 Frei H, Thurneysen A. Homeopathy in acute otitis media in children: treatment effect or spontaneous resolution? Br Homeopath J
7Colin P. Homeopathy and respiratory allergies: a series of 147 cases. Homeopathy 2006 Apr. 95(2):68-72.
8 Chapman EH, Weintraub RJ, Milburn MA, et al. Homeopathic Treatment of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized, Double-Blind,
Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Head Trauma Rehabil 1999;14(6):521- 542.
9Frass M1, Linkesch M, Banyai S, et al. Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebocontrolled
trial in an intensive care unit. Homeopathy. 2005 Apr. 94(2):75-80. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15892486