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Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Jan;2(1):32-43. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.2.1.007.

Homeopathic medications as clinical alternatives for symptomatic care of acute otitis media and upper respiratory infections in children.

Author information

1
Department of Family and Community Medicine, The University of Arizona College of Medicine and College of Nursing, The University of Arizona, Tucson, United States.
2
Private Practice, Rochester, New York, United States.

Abstract

in English, Chinese, Spanish

The public health and individual risks of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and conventional over-the-counter symptomatic drugs in pediatric treatment of acute otitis media (AOM) and upper respiratory infections (URIs) are significant. Clinical research suggests that over-the-counter homeopathic medicines offer pragmatic treatment alternatives to conventional drugs for symptom relief in children with uncomplicated AOM or URIs. Homeopathy is a controversial but demonstrably safe and effective 200-year-old whole system of complementary and alternative medicine used worldwide. Numerous clinical studies demonstrate that homeopathy accelerates early symptom relief in acute illnesses at much lower risk than conventional drug approaches. Evidence-based advantages for homeopathy include lower antibiotic fill rates during watchful waiting in otitis media, fewer and less serious side effects, absence of drug-drug interactions, and reduced parental sick leave from work. Emerging evidence from basic and preclinical science research counter the skeptics' claims that homeopathic remedies are biologically inert placebos. Consumers already accept and use homeopathic medicines for self care, as evidenced by annual US consumer expenditures of $2.9 billion on homeopathic remedies. Homeopathy appears equivalent to and safer than conventional standard care in comparative effectiveness trials, but additional well-designed efficacy trials are indicated. Nonetheless, the existing research evidence on safety supports pragmatic use of homeopathy in order to "first do no harm" in the early symptom management of otherwise uncomplicated AOM and URIs in children.

KEYWORDS:

Homeopathy; acute care; adverse drug reactions; benefit risk assessment; comparative effectiveness; cost effectiveness; otitis media; pediatric; upper respiratory infections

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