Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax. 1998 Dec; 87(49): 1687-94.
[Is homeopathy more than a placebo?]
Forschungsinstitut für Balneologie und Kurortwissenschaft Bad Elster.
Homeopathy can be characterized by three axioms "treating like with like" (law of similars), "increasing effects with increasing potency" (potentization) and "effects on the basis of ultra-high dilutions" (beyond-molecular effects), where it is unlikely that the dilutions contain a single molecule of the original substance. On the basis of these tenets and the clinical evidence further research priorities are developed. Current reviews indicate small homeopathic verum effects, even after adjustment for internal validity and publication-bias. However, the results remain disputable, because reproducibility isn't assured by independent examiners. For further validation, independent replication of studies with high quality, including specially treatment with high-potencies according to law of similars, seem to be important. The prerequisites for a homeopathy-specific study methodology (inclusion of populations according to their homeopathic diagnosis) still are not fulfilled today. There is neither convincing evidence for specific drug pictures by placebo-controlled drug provings, nor is the reliability of homeopathic diagnosis proven. By reason of extensive, individual interviews, preceeding every classical homeopathic remedy finding, placebo-effects could play an important therapeutical role. The relevance of homeopathic placebo-effects should be explored against other sham treatments and an untreated group.