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Schwabe News Volume 4 | Issue 10-12 | October - December 2013

Research news


Homoeopathic treatment of vitiligo: an open observational pilot study

Vitiligo is a common hypopigmentation disorder with significant psychological impact. An evaluation of homeopathic treatment was performed in individuals with vitiligo in a hospital outpatient clinic in West Bengal, India. Thirty participants (median age 27 years old, 57% female) were recruited for a prospective open-label pilot study and treated with individualized homeopathic medicines for 6 months. Efficacy was assessed after 3 months and 6 months using Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) score, Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF) score, and Dermatological Life Quality Index (DLQI) score, which are validated outcome measures evaluating the area, intensity, spread of depigmentation of vitiligo lesions, and quality of life (QoL). A total of 27 participants completed the trial; 3 dropped out. After 6 months of treatment, the median VASI total score improved significantly by 0.1 units (p=0.003), from 0.8 (0.5, 1.5) to 0.7 (0.3, 0.8) on a scale from 0 (no depigmentation) to 100 (completely depigmented). Similarly, the VETF median score improved by 2 units (p=0.0001) from 1 (0, 1) to –1 (–1, 0) and the staging score changed from 1 (1, 2) to 1 (0, 1), p=0.002. The total DLQI median score exhibited significant reduction from 21 (17, 22) to 13.6 (10, 17), change 7.4 (p=0.0001), as also did its components. Sulphur was the drug used in maximum number of cases (15.18%).  Individualized homeopathic treatment associated with significant improvement of VASI, VETF and DLQI scores. The extent to which the observed effects were due to placebo needs clarification in future randomized double-blind clinical studies preceded by feasibility studies.

Reference:
  • Subhasish Ganguly, Subhranil Saha, Munmun Koley, Ramkumar Mondal, Homoeopathic treatment of vitiligo: an open observational pilot study, International Journal of High Dilution Research, Vol 12, No 45 (2013)

 

Evidence in support of gene regulatory hypothesis: Gene expression profiling manifests homeopathy effect as more than placebo

Dr. AR Khuda Buksh has been known for his homoeopathic researches on gene expression. This study is also from his team. Use of ultra-high diluted remedies in homeopathy and their claimed efficacy in curing diseases has been challenged time and again by non-believers despite many evidence-based positive results published in favor of their efficacy in curing/ameliorating disease symptoms. This study was aimed to test the ability of ultra-high diluted homeopathic remedies beyond Avogadro’s limit, if any, in manifesting gene modulating effects in controlled in vitro experimental model. Since cancer cells manifest aberrant epigenetic gene expressions, we conducted global microarray gene expression profiling of HeLa cells (an established epigenetic model of HPV18 positive cell line) treated with two different potentized homeopathic remedies, namely, Condurango 30c and Hydrastis canadensis 30C (used in the treatment of cancer), as compared to that of placebo (succussed alcohol 30c). Data revealed distinctly different expression patterns of over 100 genes as a consequence of treatment with both homeopathc remedies compared to placebo. Results indicate that action of the potentized drugs was “more than placebo” and these ultra-highly diluted drugs acted primarily through modulation of gene expression.

Reference:
  • Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh, Santu Kumar Saha, Sourav Roy, Evidence in support of gene regulatory hypothesis: Gene expression profiling manifests homeopathy effect as more than placebo, International Journal of High Dilution Research, Vol 12, No 45 (2013)

 

Safety profile of homoeopathic medicines: self-medication tendencies of patients visiting out-patient departments of Government homoeopathic medical colleges and hospitals in West Bengal, India

Self-medication is mostly prevalent in the low- and middle-income population segments of developing countries, thus reflecting the status of health services. Self-medication has frequently been held responsible for inducing drug resistance, higher cost of further treatment, and other complications. The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes self-medication in rural and remote areas to reduce the burden of health services. In this study, the researchers sought to establish the prevalence, consequences, and causes of self-medication. It was a multicenter, institution-based, cross-sectional study conducted with 456 participants in May, 2013 at the outpatient clinics of 2 Government homeopathic medical colleges in West Bengal, India. A pilot-tested structured questionnaire consisting of 12 self-administered questions in local vernacular Bengali was used; 8 were close-ended questions providing multiple answer options, while 4 were open-ended. Overall, 12.7% of interviewees admitted to perform self-medication; 57.7% and 66.0% had appropriate knowledge of the medicines and dose regimens, respectively. Females (64.3%) predominated and self-medication was mostly found in age range 31-45 years old (32.5%). Conventional Western medicine (82.2%) was most preferred therapy, and fever (35.7%), hyperacidity (25.4%) and loose stool (24.3%) the most frequently reported complaints. The main causes for self-medication were feeling no need to consult doctor (32.5%), busy schedule (16.4%), family members advice (16.0%), over-the-counter (OTC) availability of medicines without prescription (12.5%), direct consumer pharmaceutical advertisement (12.1%), and high expenditure in private institutes (10.1%). The chi-square distribution of determinants across the two samples differed significantly. The tendency increased proportionately with literacy (Yates’ χ2=175.731; p=0.000) and poverty (Yates’ χ2=426.817; p=0.000). The results reflect the knowledge, attitude, and practice of self-medication among the participants. Further studies should be undertaken in larger samples and different.

Reference:
  • Munmun Koley, Subhranil Saha, Aloke Ghosh, Subhasish Ganguly, Jogendra Singh Arya, Gurudev Choubey, Self-medication tendencies of patients visiting out-patient departments of Government homoeopathic medical colleges and hospitals in West Bengal, India, International Journal of High Dilution Research, Vol 12, No 45 (2013)

 

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