Editorials

Randomised controlled trials for homoeopathy

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7336.498 (Published 02 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:498

Who wants to know the results?

  1. Gene Feder, professor of primary care research and development,
  2. Tessa Katz, general practitioner
  1. Department of General Practice and Primary Care, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, London E1 4NS
  2. Lower Clapton Group Practice, London E5 0PD

    Papers p 520

    Why should you read about a trial comparing homoeopathic treatment to placebo? If you prescribe homoeopathic medicines a trial will not influence your prescribing decisions because most trials of homoeopathic medicines do not individualise treatment, the hallmark of homoeopathic practice. If they do1 it is difficult to apply the results to individual treatment decisions in practice. Moreover randomisation and blinding of participants substantially distorts the context of homoeopathic prescribing, potentially weakening its effect. If you do not prescribe homoeopathic medicines you will not use the results directly in your practice, so why take any interest in such trials? One reason could be that every year 8.5% of adults in the United Kingdom and 4% in the United States use a homoeopathic medicine.2 It is also possible to refer patients to homoeopathic specialists in the NHS or refer to general practitioners who prescribe homoeopathically within a practice or primary care trust. The number of such referrals is growing.

    The study by …

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