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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.

Reference:
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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