Flávio Dantas, MD, PhD; Peter Fisher, FRCP; Hagen Rampes, MBChB, MRCPsych
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Dantas F., Fisher P., Rampes H.; A Critical Overview of Homeopathy. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:W-73. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-8-200310210-00026-w1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(8):W-73.
TO THE EDITOR:
Homeopathy has become increasingly popular with consumers throughout the world. It is also highly controversial. In this context, we welcome Jonas and colleagues' critical overview (1). Such an overview is not an easy task because of the different operator-dependent techniques used in homeopathic practice.
We wish to point out some shortcomings in this overview. A comprehensive review of homeopathy should consider adverse effects. A systematic review done by 2 of us (2) showed that the mean incidence of adverse effects was greater with homeopathic medicines than with placebo in 11 controlled clinical trials (relative risk, 1.8) but that the effects were minor, transient, and similar in type in both study groups. A single trial of influenza prophylaxis heavily biased the results. If this trial were excluded, the relative risk would be 1.3 (Table). The main risks associated with homeopathy seem to be indirect, relating to the prescriber rather than the medicine. To our knowledge, no studies have adequately investigated this, and government regulation of homeopathic practitioners varies widely among different countries and legislatures.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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