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J Manag Care Pharm. 2013 Oct;19(8):631-41.

Effectiveness of homeopathic medicine associated with allopathic medicine in the outpatient management of influenza-like illnesses or ear, nose, and throat disorders by pharmacists.

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1
Laboratoires Boiron, 20, rue de la Liberation, F-69110 Sainte-Foy-les-Lyon, France. karine.danno@boiron.fr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pharmacists play an increasing role in advising on treatment for minor illnesses such as influenza-like illness (ILI) or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders. However, the profile of patients consulting pharmacists with these illnesses, the types of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines recommended by pharmacists, and the effectiveness of these treatments have not been studied.

OBJECTIVES:

To describe the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of patients recommended allopathic and/or homeopathic medicines for ILI or ENT disorders by pharmacists in France and to investigate the effectiveness of these treatments.

METHODS:

A prospective, observational, multicenter study was carried out in randomly selected pharmacies across the 8 IDREM medical regions of France. Pharmacies that agreed to participate recruited male or female patients who responded to the following inclusion criteria: age ≥ 12 years presenting with the first symptoms of an ILI or ENT disorder that were 
present for less than 36 hours prior to the pharmacy visit. All medicines recorded in the study were recommended by the pharmacists. The following data were recorded at inclusion and after 3 days of treatment: the intensity of 13 symptoms, global symptom score, and disease impact on daily activities and sleep. Two groups of patients were compared: those recommended allopathic medicine only (AT group) and those recommended homeopathic medicine with or without allopathic medicine (HAT group). The number and severity of symptoms, change in global symptom score, and disease impact on daily activities and sleep were compared in the 2 treatment groups after 3 days of treatment. Independent predictors of recommendations for homeopathic medicine were identified by multi-
factorial logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 242 pharmacies out of 4,809 (5.0%) contacted agreed to participate in the study, and 133 (2.8%) included at least 1 patient; 573 patients were analyzed (mean age: 42.5 ± 16.2 years; 61.9% female). Of these, 428 received allopathic medicines only (74.7%; AT group), and 145 (25.3%) received homeopathic medicines (HAT group) alone (9/145, 1.6%) or associated with allopathy (136/145, 23.7%). At inclusion, HAT patients were significantly younger (39.6 ± 14.8 vs. 43.4 ± 16.1 years; P  less than  0.05), had a higher mean number of symptoms (5.2 ± 2.5 vs. 4.4 ± 2.5; P  less than  0.01), and more severe symptoms (mean global symptom score: 24.3 ± 5.5 vs. 22.3 ± 5.8; P = 0.0019) than AT patients. After 3 days, the improvement in symptoms and disease impact on daily activities and sleep was comparable in both groups of patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients recommended homeopathic medicine by pharmacists were younger and had more severe symptoms than those recommended allopathic medicine. After 3 days of treatment, clinical improvement was comparable in both treatment groups. Pharmacists have an important role to play in the effective management of ILI and ENT disorders.

PMID:
24074009
DOI:
10.18553/jmcp.2013.19.8.631
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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