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Schwabe News Volume 5 | Issue 10-12 | October - December 2014

Research news

Management of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by Different Medical Practices, Including Homeopathy, and Consumption of Antibiotics in Primary Care

There are growing reports about the misuse and the bad impact of antibiotics. WHO had recently published its first global report on antibiotic resistance in April 2014, which revealed serious worldwide threat to public health. Prescribing of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) is very common in primary care. Homoeopaths manage URTI cases without the use of antibiotics. This study was conducted to describe and compare antibiotic and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs use, URTI symptoms' resolution and occurrence of potentially-associated infections in patients seeking care from general practitioners (GPs) who exclusively prescribe conventional medications (GP-CM), regularly prescribe homeopathy within a mixed practice (GP-Mx), or are certified homeopathic GPs (GP-Ho).

The EPI3 survey was a nationwide population-based study of a representative sample of 825 GPs and their patients in France (2007–2008). GP recruitment was stratified by self-declared homeopathic prescribing preferences. Adults and children with confirmed URTI were asked to participate in a standardized telephone interview at inclusion, one-, three- and twelve-month follow up. Study outcomes included medication consumption, URTI symptoms' resolution and potentially-associated infections (sinusitis or otitis media/externa) as reported by patients. Analyses included calibration to account for non-respondents and groups were compared using multivate analyses adjusting for baseline differences with a propensity score.

518 adults and children with URTI (79.3% rhinopharyngitis) were included (36.9% response rate comparable between groups). As opposed to GP-CM patients, patients in the GP-Ho group showed significantly lower consumption of antibiotics (Odds ratio (OR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.27–0.68) and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs (OR = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.38–0.76) with similar evolution in related symptoms (OR = 1.16, 95% CI: 0.64–2.10). An excess of potentially-associated infections (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 0.90–3.20) was observed in the GP-Ho group (not statistically significant). No difference was found between GP-CM and GP-Mx patients.

Patients who chose to consult GPs certified in homeopathy used less antibiotics and antipyretic/anti-inflammatory drugs for URTI than those seen by GPs prescribing conventional medications. No difference was observed in patients consulting GPs within mixed-practice. A non-statistically significant excess was estimated through modelling for associated infections in the GP-Ho group and needs to be further studied.

Reference:
  • Grimaldi-Bensouda L et al., Management of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by Different Medical Practices, Including Homeopathy, and Consumption of Antibiotics in Primary Care: The EPI3 Cohort Study in France 2007–2008. PLoS ONE 9(3): e89990.

 

Open-label uncontrolled pilot study to evaluate complementary therapy with Ruta graveolens 9c in patients with advanced cancer

Patients with advanced metastatic disease are often treated aggressively with multiple lines of chemotherapy, even in the last month of life. The benefit of such an approach remains uncertain. The objective of the study was to investigate whether Ruta graveolens 9c homeopathic medicine can improve quality of life (QoL) and tumour progression in patients with advanced cancer.

This was a single-centre, open-label, uncontrolled, pilot study. Patients (>18-years, life-expectancy ≥3 months, performance status ≤2) with locally-advanced solid tumours or metastases, previously treated with all available standard anti-cancer treatments were recruited. Oral treatment consisted of two 1-mL ampoules of Ruta graveolens (9c dilution) given daily for a minimum of 8 weeks, or until tumour and/or clinical progression. Primary outcome was QoL measured using the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire. Secondary outcome measures were anxiety/depression measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), WHO performance status (PS), tumour progression assessed using RECIST criteria and tumour markers, survival and tolerance.

Thirty-one patients were included (mean age: 64.3 years). Mean duration of treatment was 3.3 months (median: 2.1). QoL global health status improved significantly between baseline and week 8 (P < 0.001) and week 16 (P = 0.035), but was at the limit of significance (P = 0.057) at the end of the study. There was no significant change in anxiety/depression or PS during treatment. Ruta graveolens 9c had no obvious effect on tumour progression. Median survival was 6.7 months [95%CI: 4.8–14.9]. Ruta graveolens 9c was well-tolerated.

Some patients treated with Ruta graveolens 9c had a transitory improvement in QoL, but the effectiveness of this treatment remains to be confirmed in further studies.

Reference:
  • Gilles Freyer et al., Open-label uncontrolled pilot study to evaluate complementary therapy with Ruta graveolens 9c in patients with advanced cancer, Homeopathy,  October 2014 Volume 103, Issue 4, Pages 232–238

 

Efficacy of homeopathic intervention in subclinical hypothyroidism with or without autoimmune thyroiditis in children: an exploratory randomized control study

This study evaluates the efficacy of homeopathy in subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) with or without autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) in children. The decision to treat subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) with or without autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) in children, presents a clinical dilemma. This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of individualized homeopathy in these cases.

The study is an exploratory, randomized, placebo controlled, single blind trial. Out of 5059 school children (06–18 years) screened for thyroid disorders, 537 children had SCH/AIT and 194 consented to participate. Based on primary outcome measures (TSH and/or antiTPOab) three major groups were formed: Group A – SCH + AIT (n = 38; high TSH with antiTPOab+), Group B – AIT (n = 47; normal TSH with antiTPOab+) and Group C – SCH (n = 109; only high TSH) and were further randomized to two subgroups-verum and control. Individualized homeopathy or identical placebo was given to respective subgroup. 162 patients completed 18 months of study.

Baseline characteristics were similar in all the subgroups. The post treatment serum TSH (Group A and C) returned to normal limits in 85.94% of verum and 64.29% of controls (p < 0.006), while serum AntiTPOab titers (Group A and B) returned within normal limits in 70.27%of verum and 27.02%controls (p < 0.05). Eight children (10.5%) progressed to overt hypothyroidism (OH) from control group.

Conclusion

A statistically significant decline in serum TSH values and antiTPOab titers indicates that the homeopathic intervention has not only the potential to treat SCH with or without antiTPOab but may also prevent progression to OH.

Reference:
  • Vijay K. Chauhan et al., Efficacy of homeopathic intervention in subclinical hypothyroidism with or without autoimmune thyroiditis in children: an exploratory randomized control study, Homeopathy, October 2014 Volume 103, Issue 4, Pages 224–231

 

A study of the effect of mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum on metabolic disorders of Streptozotocin induced diabetic male albino rat

Syzygium jambolanum is widely used in Homoeopathy for treating Diabetes mellitus and its complications. This study was aimed to explore the remedial effects of homoeopathic mother tincture Syzygium jambolanum on metabolic disorders of Streptozotocin induced diabetic male albino rat. Serum levels of insulin, urea, uric acid, creatinine, albumin and total protein were measured as per the standard methods using specific kits. Amount of glycogen in liver and skeletal muscles, activities of antioxidant enzymes as well as content of free radical bye products in liver and kidney tissues were assessed biochemically following the standard protocol.

The study indicated that the treatment of mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum in diabetic albino rats restored the body weight and significantly controlled the elevated blood glucose level as compared with the untreated group. Levels of glycogen in liver and skeletal muscle tissues were recovered by treatment with Syzygium jambolanum in diabetic rats as compared with the untreated diabetic rats. Levels of serum urea, uric acid and creatinine were increased in diabetic rats significantly as compared with the control group, which were resettled in the control group after treatment with mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum in diabetic animals. Alongside, significant recovery in the activities of antioxidant enzymes like catalyse, peroxidase and super oxide dismutase, the levels of free radicals generated as bye products in hepatic and renal tissues were also observed in the treatment with mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum treated diabetic animals with respect to the untreated in diabetic animals. The authors have concluded that the homoeopathic mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum has therapeutic effect on metabolic disorders and oxidative injuries in Streptozotocin induced diabetic male albino rats.

Reference:
  • Maiti S, Bera TK, Chatterjee K, Ghosh D. A study of the effect of mother tincture of Syzygium jambolanum on metabolic disorders of Streptozotocin induced diabetic male albino rat. Indian J Res Homoeopathy 2014;8:129-35
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