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Homeopathy. 2006 Oct;95(4):215-22.

Evaluation of specific and non-specific effects in homeopathy: feasibility study for a randomised trial.

Author information

1
Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, London, UK. peter.fisher@uclh.nhs.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the feasibility, in terms of acceptability to patients, physicians and other staff; data return and statistical power of a study to elucidate the relative contributions of specific and non-specific effects in homeopathic treatment of dermatitis.

DESIGN:

Randomised, controlled 4-arm trial, 2 arms double-blind.

SETTING:

Outpatient clinic, Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital.

PARTICIPANTS:

Seventy-five adult patients with dermatitis.

INTERVENTIONS:

Patients were randomly allocated to: 'fast track' open verum homeopathy, 'fast track' double-blind verum homeopathy, 'fast track' double-blind placebo homeopathy or waiting list control.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

One hundred millimeter visual analogue scale of overall symptom severity; 10 point digital scores of sleep, itching, skin condition; weekly 5-point Likert scale of topical steroid use; Dermatology Life Quality Index at entry and completion.

RESULTS:

Recruitment was below target, but the study was acceptable to staff and feasible. Blinded patients were more likely to withdraw (P=0.021, chi2 test). After correction for baseline differences and multiple comparisons, no outcome measure showed statistically significant between group differences. Blindness appeared to have a negative effect, but this was confounded by differential withdrawal.

CONCLUSIONS:

A definitive trial of this design is unlikely to discriminate the relative contributions of the non-specific and specific effects to the outcome of homeopathic treatment of dermatitis, because of patient preference issues.

PMID:
17015192
DOI:
10.1016/j.homp.2006.07.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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