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Homeopathic meds no better than place

Scientists who reviewed homeopathic studies from the past 16 years have concluded that homeopathy does not cure illnesses and is risky if used in place of a safe, effective medicine. The study was done on behalf of Australia’s Medical Research Council, which believes that “people who use homeopathic remedies need to understand the potential benefits and risks”.

The scientists looked at data relating to the use of homeopathic remedies for 68 diseases, including malaria, HIV, colds, warts, diarrhoea and pain. They found that homeopathic gels, pills and drops worked no better than placebos – or sugar pills.

Researchers said: “Homeopathy is partly based on the belief that molecules in highly diluted substances retain a ‘memory’ of the original substance.” The substance from a plant or animal is repeatedly diluted and then struck against a hard surface. The study says some homeopaths believe that the mixture becomes stronger the more it is diluted.

This belief was described as “scientifically implausible” in a 2012 review by a UK government science and technology committee. The committee suggested that Britain’s National Health Service stop paying for homeopathic remedies with taxpayers’ money.

The Australian study asked: “Is homeopathy an effective treatment for health conditions, compared with no homeopathy, or compared with other treatments?” It found the use of unproved homeopathic medicines, in place of tried and tested medicine, could be dangerous and that patients visiting homeopaths should also continue taking the treatment prescribed by a doctor.

The input and research of homeopathic interest groups was presented in public hearings. The Australian scientists called for large well-designed studies to test homeopathic medicine. They found that studies that showed that homeopathic remedies worked were either badly designed or had too few participants.

Neil Gower, spokesman for the Homeopathic Association of SA, acknowledged the findings, saying “The main conclusion is that there is a paucity of good-quality studies of sufficient size which has resulted in these conclusions.”

In South Africa homeopaths are trained diagnosticians regulated by the Allied Health Professions Council of SA. Complaints about their conduct or practice can be made to the Council, Gower said.

The association will review the results of the draft Australian report to see if its recommendations could be of use in South Africa.

Source: Timeslive

Last Updated on 9 July 2014 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs