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Author Topic: Should homeopathy be considered as part of a treatment strategy for otitis media  (Read 677 times)


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Volume 102, Issue 2 , Pages 145-150, April 2013
Should homeopathy be considered as part of a treatment strategy for otitis media with effusion in children?
Alison Fixsen



Otitis media with effusion (OME) or ‘glue ear’ is the most common cause of pediatric hearing loss, and a drain on global healthcare resources. It is associated with frequent episodes of acute otitis media (AOM) and upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and linked with environmental and social factors, including diet, smoking households, overcrowding and day care use. Current conventional treatment for OME is unsatisfactory, the area constitutes an ‘effectiveness gap’. Homeopathy is a relatively common and popular choice of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment for childhood conditions, including otitis media. Antibiotic resistance is now a major global problem, homeopathy may have a role to play in combating its further development.


Systematic review of the literature for clinical studies of homeopathy for AOM and upper respiratory tract disorders. Discussion in the context of current treatment options and public health issues including antibiotic resistance.


Several randomized trials and outcome studies of homeopathy for AOM and upper respiratory tract disorders have been published. The results are encouraging, but the volume of research is small and insufficient to draw definitive conclusions.


A strategy based on multi-centre or multiple, linked clinical trials of homeopathy for OME, using a pragmatic framework and evaluating long-term effects in different settings, in conjunction with other healthcare and social services should be considered. Reduction of antibiotic use is an important outcome.


"In comparison to conventional medicine the body of peer-reviewed research on homeopathy for URTIs, OME and AOM is small.  Nevertheless a body of research exists which supports the view that homeopathy could be at least as effective as a standard treatment, has effects which can be arguably differentiated from placebo, can lead to reduced conventional drug use and can fill effectiveness gaps in conventional medical treatment.

"Two randomized placebo-controlled trials of AOM have been conducted to date, the first comparing homeopathic and conventional treatment for AOM in Seattle...A significant decrease in symptoms 2 and 64 h after treatment were observed in the homeopathy group...A more recent randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in Jaipur recruited 81 children...The number of patients experiencing 'cure' at the first follow-up suggests that early homeopathic treatment could have advantages beyond a watch and wait policy.  Although results of both RCT trials are promising, a larger study is needed for the results to be considered clinically significant.

"Other studies investigating the controlled use of homeopathy for otitis media and related complaints in children suggest both possible reduction of pain and long-term benefits from homeopathic treatment."

"Research into the effects of homeopathic treatment for OME is scant."

"Claims made for the clinical effects of homeopathy are controversial with controlled trials criticized for inconclusive results.  Shang et al. considered homeopathy to be no more effective than placebo and dismissed the need for more controlled trials, however re-analysis of their paper revealed important methodological flaws, including lack of sensitivity and presence of heterogeneity between trials. Other studies have indicated more positive outcomes for homeopathy. Over the period from 1950 to 2010, 156 RCTs or inter-group comparisons of homeopathy were reported in 135 peer-reviewed journals. Of the total RCTs, 156 41% reported positive findings, 7% negative and 52% non-conclusive."

"Conventional treatment of OME is an example of an ‘effectiveness’ gap. The lack of any ideal intervention for otitis media and the urgent need to explore new and creative options is still a global concern. Despite its relative popularity with the public, studies of the homeopathic treatment of OME are few, partly due to scarcity of funding opportunities. Nevertheless evidence suggests that homeopathic treatment can exert biological effects with fewer adverse events and broader therapeutic opportunities."

"An alternative to the conventional randomized placebo-controlled trial design, allowing the use of individualized patient treatment strategies is the pragmatic trial. Pragmatic trials test the effectiveness of a therapy in a real-world context, generally without the use of placebo or control group."

"Participants with OME in the RCT by Harrison, Fixsen and Vickers presented with a range of interacting medical conditions, including asthma, rhinitis, obesity and behavioural problems, which from a classical homeopathic perspective helped define the correct remedy but were not considered significant to the clinical findings of the published study, even though patients experienced benefit beyond their OME symptoms."

" In the light of a present ‘effectiveness gap’ in the conventional approach and we conclude that homeopathy should be considered as part of a new treatment strategy for OME and that further studies would be timely and worthwhile."

Homeopathy is organized crime. Homeopathy is murder.
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