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Individualised homeopathy as effective as Prozac

A research group at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil recently demonstrated that the effectiveness of individualized homeopathy was statistically equivalent to fluoxetine (Prozac), a standard effective treatment in acute depression.

Ninety-one outpatients with moderate to severe depression were assigned to receive an individualized homeopathic medicine or fluoxetine 20 mg per day (up to 40 mg per day) in a prospective, randomized, double-blind double-dummy 8-week, single-center trial.

Primary efficacy measure was the analysis of the mean change in the Montgomery & Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) depression scores, using a non-inferiority test with margin of 1.45. Secondary efficacy outcomes were response and remission rates. Mean MADRS scores differences were not significant at the 4th (P1/40.654) and 8th weeks (P1/40.965) of treatment.

Non-inferiority of homeopathy was indicated because the upper limit of the confidence interval (CI) for mean difference in MADRS change was less than the non-inferiority margin: mean differences (homeopathy–fluoxetine) were 3.04 (95% CI 6.95, 0.86) and 2.4 (95% CI 6.05, 0.77) at 4th and 8th week, respectively. There were no significant differences between the percentages of response or remission rates in the homeopathy group vs. the fluoxetine group.

Patients treated with fluoxetine reported more troublesome side effects and there was a trend toward greater treatment interruption for adverse effects in the fluoxetine group. This study illustrates the feasibility of randomized controlled double-blind trials of homeopathy in depression and indicates the non-inferiority of individualized homeopathic medicines as compared to fluoxetine in acute treatment of outpatients with moderate to severe depression.

The study can be downloaded here.

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