Over the years, I had to get used to some abominably poor research in alternative medicine, particularly homeopathy. This new paper takes the biscuit, in my fairly well-informed opinion.
The article in question reports a survey investigating the management of paediatric tonsillopharyngitis, with a focus on natural remedies. For that purpose, 138 paediatricians, general practitioners and ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialists from 7 countries were sent a self-made, non-validated questionnaire.
The results indicate that a rapid strept test (RST) to diagnose acute tonsillopharyngitis was routinely used by 41% of the respondents. The use of RST allowed 200 diagnosis/year compared with 125 diagnosis/year for clinicians who did not use this tool. Homeopathic remedies were prescribed as a supportive therapy by 62% of participants. Among different homeopathic remedies, SilAtro-5-90 was the most frequently prescribed. In the chronic setting, homeopathy was suggested as a supportive therapy by 59% of all participants, phytotherapy by 28% and vitamins/nutritional supplementation by 37%.
The authors of this paper concluded from these results that the management of tonsillopharyngitis in paediatric patients still remains empiric. Natural remedies, and homeopathy in particular, are used in the management of URTIs. An integrative approach to these infections may help reduce excessive antibiotic prescription.
No wonder that homeopathy and research into it are the laughing stock of the scientific community!
A survey of this nature is already a fairly daft idea. What could it possibly show? That health care professionals who like homeopathy answer, while the vast majority don’t!
But the pinnacle of silliness must be the conclusions drawn from such ‘research’. Let’s take them step by step:
- the management of tonsillopharyngitis in paediatric patients still remains empiric – this is not true nor is it borne out by the data generated.
- Natural remedies, and homeopathy in particular, are used in the management of URTIs – this may be true, but it has been known before; we therefore do not need to waste time and effort to re-state it.
- An integrative approach to these infections may help reduce excessive antibiotic prescription – this is not supported by the data and it also seems nonsensical: if it truly successful in reducing antibiotic prescribing, it is arguably no longer integrative but alternative.
Say no more!