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Here you can find news about developments in Europe that are important for homeopathy, news from the European homeopathic community and from the ECH itself

The whole news archive is available below

HTA report positive for homeopathy

“In conclusion we have established that there is sufficient supporting evidence for the pre-clinical (experimental) as well as clinical effects of homeopathy, and that in absolute terms, as well as when compared to conventional therapies, it offers a safe and cost-effective treatment.” This is the conclusion of a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) report on the effectiveness, appropriateness, safety and costs of homeopathy in health care.

The report, published under the title "Homeopathy in Europe - Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs", was commissioned by the Swiss health authorities to inform decision-making on the further inclusion of homeopathy in the list of services covered by statutory health insurance. Other studies carried out as part of the Swiss Complementary Medicine Evaluation Programme (PEK) caused a massive stir due to their schematic and exclusively quantitative (negative-) outcomes for homeopathy. The present report, in contrast, offers a differentiated evaluation of the practice of homeopathy in health care. It confirms homeopathy as a valuable addition to the conventional medical landscape – a status it has been holding for a long time in practical health care.

The book can now be ordered at Springer Publishers, Amazon UK and Germany. The book is expected to be available as an e-book as well.

At the Springer website you can have a detailed look into the contents and buy PDFs of individual chapters.

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Swedish court rules: 'Doctors can recommend homeopathy'.

The Supreme Administrative Court has recently ruled that Swedish doctors can openly recommend homeopathy to their patients. Until recently homeopathy had not been accepted by the Swedish health authorities as an official therapeutic approach, and doctors in Sweden were not allowed to prescribe homeopathic medicines.

The court case began several years ago when a medical doctor, who was trained in homeopathy in the UK and used this therapy in his practice, was put on probation by the Medical Responsibility Board (Hälso- och Sjukvårdens AnsvarsNämnd - HSAN). The doctor appealed the decision on the grounds that he just used homeopathy when the patient requested it and only when conventional treatment had turned out to be ineffective. After being sentenced in two lower courts, he was forbidden to use homeopathy. The verdict claimed that homeopathy is unscientific, thus ignoring the growing evidence base of the effectiveness of homeopathy.

Just recently, after years of discrimination against him and his patients, his case came at last to the highest court. This court decided that patients were not exposed to any danger and the doctor had used scientific knowledge when it was necessary.

The implications of this decision are that from now on qualified medical personnel are allowed to use homeopathy. The verdict has already led to much publicity in Sweden and a rapidly increasing interest in homeopathy and other complementary therapies.

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Doctor Patricia Le Roux has passed away

On 17 October 2011 Doctor Patricia Le Roux, in the full bloom of her life, passed away after a terrible traffic accident in Paris. Her death leaves a huge gap in the homeopathic community.

Patricia Le RouxAn expert homeopathic paediatrician, she had a busy practice and worked in the emergency ward of the Hôpital de la Timone in Marseille. In her practice she was adored by her children-patients and their parents for her love, dedication, thoughtfulness and expertise.

Dr Le Roux served many years on the ECH Council as General Secretary and on the Board of the French Syndicat National des Medecins Homéopathes Français. She was coordinator of the Groupement des Pédiatres Homéopathes d’Expression Française and in that capacity organised seminars and congresses in paediatrics. Within the Société Savante d’Homéopathie she was able to bring the various homeopathic schools together and make them agree on a common educational programme.

She participated in the work of the Hahnemannian school of Fréjus, directed by Dr Didier Grandgeorge who was her teacher during her training at university. Later on she worked with a group of homeopathic doctors, the Collègues Homéopathes Unicistes Marseillais studying materia medica, became a teacher herself and gave lectures in various countries in the world. She was also a prolific writer of books on homeopathic practice, many of them translated into English and German.

She was not only a dedicated homeopathic doctor, teacher and writer. She had a great musical talent, studied music, was a gifted flute player and participated in a chamber orchestra. She shared her love for music with the members of the Massalia Consort choir which she founded and conducted. She was an all-round personality, had a truly European background, having a Scottish mother, a French father and an Italian grandmother. She was a polyglot, spoke French, English, Italian and German.

And amidst her hectic professional life, all her love, her protection and her wisdom went to her family and her four children. As one of our colleagues so rightly said, simplicity, dignity and empathy were the qualities that touched everyone who has known her.

Our community extend our thoughts to her family, her children, her parents. We wish them strength for the time to come where they will have to cope with this enormous loss.

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Systematic review of clinical trials supports homeopathy in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

A well-conducted systematic review from a research team in the USA has scrutinised randomised placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy in psychiatric conditions.

RCTs were included if they met 7 criteria and were assessed for possible bias using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 50 guidelines. Identified studies were grouped into anxiety or stress, sleep or circadian rhythm complaints, premenstrual problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mild traumatic brian injury, and functional somatic syndromes. Twenty-five eligible studies were identified; study quality according to SIGN 50 criteria varied, with 6 assessed as good with respect to minimizing bias, 9 as fair, and 10 as poor. Outcome was unrelated to SIGN quality.

In the category of functional somatic syndromes 5 of the 6 studies provided some evidence for efficacy in either fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. The low placebo response (4%–15%) and modestly consistent rates of response to homeopathy (26%–50%) in these disorders and the larger sample size of over 200 patients may have yielded more precise estimates than in the other categories. Findings for other conditions were mixed and inconclusive. There was no evidence of publication bias.

Davidson JR et al (2011) Homeopathic treatments in psychiatry: a systematic review of randomized placebo-controlled studies. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72:795-805 [PubMed]

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Measuring the effectiveness of homeopathic care through objective public health indicators

A team of Italian researchers evaluated the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment through standard objective public health indicators of well-being. They compared homeopathic users with the general population in the same area and by comparing patients before and after homeopathic treatment, and obtained indicators of hospitalization and drug use from the Health Statistical Documentation System of Tuscany for two homeopathic centers in the Local Health Authority of Pisa, Italy.

In general, results were significant for the drug usage indicator: the population of homeopathic care users uses fewer drugs than the standard population. Furthermore, it can be seen that the number of drugs and the drugs expenditure reduce significantly after homeopathic treatment. Hospitalization indicators tended to favour patients who had received homeopathic treatment but were not always statistically significant.

This paper demonstrates a new methodological approach to assess the effectiveness of a therapeutic modality, without ad-hoc clinical trials. The assessment of effectiveness is crucial for public health institutions that integrate non-conventional medicines into the public health care system: this methodological approach implies a reduction in timing and costs and, moreover, it permits to monitor more patients. The results suggest that use of homeopathy is associated with lower use of prescribed medication.

Leone L et al (2011) Measuring the effectiveness of homeopathic care through objective and shared indicators. Homeopathy, 100:212-219 [PubMed]

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