MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes; it is common in many parts of the world. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle/joint pain and a red rash. The infection is usually mild and lasts about a week. In rare cases it can be more serious and even life threatening. There’s no specific treatment – except for homeopathy; at least this is what many homeopaths want us to believe.

This article reports the clinical outcomes of integrative homeopathic care in a hospital setting during a severe outbreak of dengue in New Delhi, India, during the period September to December 2015.

Based on preference, 138 patients received a homeopathic medicine along with usual care (H+UC), and 145 patients received usual care (UC) alone. Assessment of thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100,000/mm3) was the main outcome measure. Kaplan-Meier analysis enabled comparison of the time taken to reach a platelet count of 100,000/mm3.

The results show a statistically significantly greater rise in platelet count on day 1 of follow-up in the H+UC group compared with UC alone. This trend persisted until day 5. The time taken to reach a platelet count of 100,000/mm3 was nearly 2 days earlier in the H+UC group compared with UC alone.

The authors concluded that these results suggest a positive role of adjuvant homeopathy in thrombocytopenia due to dengue. Randomized controlled trials may be conducted to obtain more insight into the comparative effectiveness of this integrative approach.

The design of the study is not able to control for placebo effects. Therefore, the question raised by this study is the following: can an objective parameter like the platelet count be influenced by placebo? The answer is clearly YES.

Why do researchers go to the trouble of conducting such a trial, while omitting both randomisation as well as placebo control? Without such design features the study lacks rigour and its results become meaningless? Why can researchers of Dengue fever run a trial without reporting symptomatic improvements?  Could the answer to these questions perhaps be found in the fact that the authors are affiliated to the ‘Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, New Delhi?

One could argue that this trial – yet another one published in the journal ‘Homeopathy’ – is a waste of resources and patients’ co-operation. Therefore, one might even argue, such a study might be seen as unethical. In any case, I would argue that this study is irrelevant nonsense that should have never seen the light of day.

 

37 Responses to More dodgy research on homeopathy for Dengue Fever

  • It is more than dodgy research, to say the least.

    It is not really your fault that you have spent two decades trying to prove that unicorns don’t exist. Perhaps your knowledge and energy would be better put to use by critically assessing conventional medicine?

  • Well if said Homeopathy journal is in print format the studies may have some use. Here in my part of Canada the barbecue season is fast approaching. For a traditionalist like me who uses charcoal, a fire-starter is always handy.

  • Although we can all point to dozens or even hundreds of double-blind and placebo controlled trials testing homeopathic medicines, what’s the problem here if usual care AND homeopathic treatment (with a homeopathic medicine AND that “special” homeopathic interview where all of the “magic” happens…according to skeptics) as long as the patient gets healthy in a clinically relevant way?

    Asking for a friend…

    • “Although we can all point to dozens of double-blind and placebo controlled trials testing homeopathic medicines” THE TOTALITY OF THE TRIAL EVIDENCE IS NOT POSITIVE
      sorry Dana to finish and correct the sentence for you – but at least it now is factually correct.

      • Ernie, Ernie, Ernie…Your logic is perfectly off. Thomas Edison had 10,000 failed experiments, but one that worked. The weight of evidence was against him, unless you decide to do something with the one that worked!

        Sorry to rain your parade…but sorry, not sorry.

  • So here is your opportunity all you skepto-dudes. There is no treatment of any value for Dengue apparently. WebMD only says take acetaminophen. When you get Dengue, go to one of those horrible predatory homeopaths (or have them come to you in your pain) and have them give you a placebo. Then you can laugh in their face and see what happens.

  • I only have the abstract, but there’s no reason to think the patients who accepted homeopathy were equivalent to those who declined, and no information to show that the reported measure was the planned outcome measure. Randomisation helps get equivalent control and intervention groups.
    Without randomisation the study is quite useless and therefore unethical (wasting patients time and effort for no useful outcome)

    • HaHaHaHa! Thanx, David, for AGAIN proving how much you skeptics just download from your back side!

      This study was conducted in India, where, according to the LANCET, over 100 million people rely ONLY upon homeopathy for ALL of their medical care needs.

      And as it is in every country where a survey has been conducted, the best predictor to who uses homeopathy, the more educated you, the more likely you are to use homeopathic medicines.

      You are so wonderfully daft that you cannot even think that people may actually prefer homeopathy. You win.

      Obviously, YOU don’t use homeopathy…that explains a lot…

      • “the more educated you, the more likely you are to use homeopathic medicines.”

        So how come you use homeopathy, Dana?

      • Dana

        That article you mention in The Lancet does indeed say that 100 million people rely only upon homeopathy. What else does it say? Shall we find out?

        “In the western Indian state of Maharastra, Shantaram Chavan, a poor farmer diagnosed as HIV positive, responded in desperation to an advertisement in a local newspaper placed by Siddharth Jondhale, a homoeopathic doctor, who said he had found a cure for the virus. For 1 year, Chavan took the drug administered by Jondhale at his private clinic. He sold his tractor to raise the 150 000 rupees (US$3800) to pay for the so-called miracle cure that Jondhale named HIV-SJ. During that year, the farmer’s condition deteriorated.
        India has the world’s third highest caseload of HIV/AIDS after Nigeria and South Africa. Jondhale’s clinic drew in hundreds—all of whom had seen one of his leaflets or read his website that claimed he had cured 4000 people with HIV in the past 2 years. Last month, the law finally caught up with Jondhale and he was prohibited from advertising the fanciful claims. He is currently under investigation by medical authorities.
        The case, which made headlines in the national press, highlighted the widespread acceptance of homoeopathy in India as a viable treatment for the most serious of diseases. Around 10% of India’s population—more than 100 million people—depend solely on homoeopathy for their health care, according to the Indian government.”

        So there we have it, Dana. Poor people being bilked for their savings by shameless quacks. Your article, Dana. Shame how your powers of selective comprehension have failed you again.

        • No homeopathic drug in India (or anywhere in the world) costs $3,800. In India, they cost pennies!

          You are either providing misinformation (no surprise) or simply providing an example of ONE fraudster who just happens to be a homeopath. In comparison, how many people in the USA lose their entire HOMES due to ineffective and dangerous medical care practices?

          Here’s the LANCET reference:
          Prasad, R. Homoeopathy Booming in India, Lancet, 370(November 17 2007):1679-80. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18035598

          Please provide your Lancet reference.

          • Dana, by clicking on the link to “full text at journal site” on the Pubmed page you linked to, one can actually read the article.

        • Lenny – ‘so there we have it Dana. Poor people being bilked(??)for their savings by shameless quacks’

          I was just thinking the other day how, having used homeopathy for nearing half a century, the price labels on my recent purchases seem little more than on the first ones. Great value, don’t break the bank and are efficacious: win, win.

          • Did you pay $3800 for them, Angela?

            Oh. No. You didn’t, did you. The people in India did, though. Which is the point that you seem unable to grasp.

            And I’m sure your remedies were cheap. You can get them free of charge if you want.

            Just open up your tap/faucet.

            Homeopathy. It’s just water.

          • Angela said:

            I was just thinking the other day how, having used homeopathy for nearing half a century, the price labels on my recent purchases seem little more than on the first ones.

            That’s odd. Nelsons is a brand leader. Today, they sell their aconite 30C sugar pills for £5.99 for 84 pellets. Ten years ago, the same sugar pills were £4.60. That’s a 30% increase in price for the very same product. Goodness knows what they sold them for 50 years ago… But even at less than a fiver, that’s an astonishing markup for sugar.

            are efficacious

            Really?

          • Alan…I hope that even you don’t take yourself seriously to believe really daft economics like this!

            Is your head that stuck-up some hole that you can’t see the irony of what you wrote in light to today’s Big Pharma drug prices. Please please tell me that you just had one extra beer and that you apoogy of what you’ve written. If not, my most sincere condolences to you…

            What’s remarkable here is that none of your colleagues has the balls to take you aside and try to knock on your head to see if anyone is home.

            Ding dong…anyone home?.

          • Oh dear, Dana. You really aren’t managing to keep up, are you?

      • Anyway, Dana, perhaps you would like to explain what the alleged popularity of homeopathy in India has to do with the lack of randomisation of the study.

        • Alan – ‘goodness knows what they sold them for 50 years ago…’ My first consultation was with a medical doctor/homeopath and the effective remedy was included in the fee. I don’t know how you can extrapolate that into your homeopathy costs’ spreadsheet.

          I can purchase from a leafing brand currently a remedy for around £5.

          The Skeptics Brigade did a fantastic job in convincing the Health Authorities to remove homeopathy which has saved thousands rather than millions. I now see the NHS are funding yoga etc so not all bad news.

          Lenny – there wasn’t a lot to grasp was there? I would think the majority of remedies purchased fall within the low cost band rate.

          • I can buy a kilo of sugar from my local supermarket for 69p, so any homeopathy pellets more expensive that that is a rip off.

            But at least the CCGs aren’t wasting our money on sugar any more.

          • Alan…because you seem to be cost-conscious and science-conscious, please show me some good meta-analyses on the health benefits of sugar that have been published in conventional medical journals. In comparison, here’s something on homeopathic research:

            “Five systematic reviews have examined the RCT research literature on homeopathy as a whole…: four of these ‘global’ systematic reviews reached the conclusion that, with important caveats, the homeopathic intervention probably differs from placebo.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25480654

            Mathie RT, Lloyd SM, Legg LA, Clausen J, Moss S, Davidson JR, Ford I. Randomised placebo-controlled trials of individualised homeopathic treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis. Systematic Reviews 2014; 3:142. doi:10.1186/2046-4053-3-142
            http://www.systematicreviewsjournal.com/content/3/1/142

            In the meantime, please continue to embarrass yourself.

          • Eddie! Actually, that meta-analysis simply showed that there are a limited number of clinical trials with the VERY highest quality of research…and ALL of these studies showed efficacy!

            Further, while maintain this high standard of evaluation, the authors verified that FOUR of the FIVE previous meta-analyses on homeopathy have shown benefit from homeopathy.

            Once again, where are such meta-analyses on sugar?

          • DUllie, you forgot to mention who funded this paper

          • Oh goodie…do we now get to completely IGNORE all research funded by Big Pharma as well as those studies conducted by governments that have revolving doors between regulatory agencies and drug companies?

            Great…now, almost all of conventional medical research can be ignored…oh, but something tells me that “your” Big Pharma research is OK but homeopathy’s nano-sized industry-funded research is corrupt!?

            Thanx for showing us your colors (as dark as they may be).

          • Oh Dullie!
            my days would be without hilarity, if you would not regularly comment such utter nonsense.
            who said anything about COMPLETELY IGNORING?
            have I ignored the Mathie paper?
            no!
            I assessed it critically – and that’s what we should do with ALL research.
            pity that you never acquired this skill.

          • Nice going how you HID (!) the one statement of about THREE clinical trials that DID show statistical significance for showing benefit from homoepathic treatment over placebo.

            You’re brillaint at your con job…brilliantly devious.

          • thank you
            a compliment from my old pal Dullie is precious to me

          • And for the record, it is SO typical of Eddie and others to avoid providing a real and specific critique of a high-quality study or review when the studies show benefit from homeopathy…

          • thank you
            you made me chuckle again
            please keep going

          • LOL!

            Dana

            You’ve been educated on these before. Have you forgotten already? Do you need to be reminded? I’m more than happy to help you out…

  • So that’s a neat combination of a No True Scotsman and a Straw Man, Dana. Well done.

    My Lancet reference: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607617097/fulltext

    You’ll note it’s the full text of the same article you linked to.

    And plainly didn’t read, since you’re questioning its contents.

    Really well done, Dana. Spectacularly stupid even by your impressive standards.

    • Alan – you seem obsessed with sugar. Was it way back in the 50’s that Yudkin wrote about its danger to health?

      As for homeopathic remedies I am sure the several million worldwide consumers don’t call them sugar pellets: just the skeptics then.

      Respectfully, this is a nonsense discourse : you may see it as Saturday entertainment but I now desist; you have made your pitch and I’m out, as the dragons say!

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