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

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is usually a blood clot in a deep vein of a leg. It is a potentially life-threatening condition, because the clot can detach itself and end up in the lungs thus causing a pulmonary embolism which can be fatal. A DVT therefore is a medical emergency which is typically managed by immobilising the patient and putting him/her on anticoagulants.

Yet, homeopaths seem to have discovered another approach. Indian homeopaths just published a case report of a DVT in an old patient totally cured exclusively by the non-invasive method of treatment with micro doses of potentized homeopathic drugs selected on the basis of the totality of symptoms and individualization of the case. The authors concluded that, since this report is based on a single case of recovery, results of more such cases are warranted to strengthen the outcome of the present study.

The patient was advised by his doctor to have surgery which he refused. Instead, he consulted a homeopath who treated him homoeopathically. No conventional treatments were given. The patient recovered, yet his recovery is almost certainly unrelated to the homeopathics he received. Spontaneous recovery after DVT is not uncommon, and it is almost certain that it is this what the case report describes.

It is simply not plausible, nor is there evidence that homeopathy can alter the natural history of a DVT. This means that what the Indian homeopaths have described in their paper is nothing less than a case of gross negligence. Had the patient died of a pulmonary embolism due to an untreated DVT, it could have put them behind bars.

While it is, of course, most laudable that homeopaths have taken to publishing even their most serious errors, it would be more reassuring, if they developed some sort of insight into their mistakes. Instead, they seem naively confident and stupidly ignorant of the danger they pose to the public: homeopathy can play significant therapeutic roles in very serious diseases like DVT, provided the drugs are needs to be carefully selected on the basis of i) individualization of cases, ii) the totality of symptoms and personalized data, and iii) taking into consideration the pathogenicity level and proper diagnosis of the disease. Further, homeopathy may also be safely used in patients with conventional drug allergy (antibiotics) or other physical conditions preventing intake of conventional medicines.

My conclusion and recommendation: stay away from homeopaths, folks!

8 Responses to Homeopathy “can play significant therapeutic roles in very serious diseases” … a case-report that is deeply worrying

  • The present case report intends to record yet another case of DVT in an old patient totally cured exclusively by the non-invasive method of treatment with micro doses of potentized homeopathic drugs selected on the basis of the totality of symptoms and individualization of the case.

    So these ‘researchers’ assert with full confidence that it was homeopathy that cured their patient, even though this conclusion is based on N=1.

    Now, let’s rephrase this case with some minor changes:

    The present case report intends to record yet another case of DVT in an old patient totally cured exclusively by the non-invasive method of treatment with daily doses of Novartis’ new drug Athromazol, selected on the severity of symptoms and individualization of the case.

    If the pharma company touted their new drug like this in a press report, all hell would break loose, with universal condemnation of this utterly useless piece of research – no doubt including severe criticism from the Alternative Universe as well. The pharmaceutical company would of course never be allowed to put their new drug on the market based on just this one case. They’d even run the risk of having an investigation launched them to see if they also cut corners in other drug trials.
    However, homeopaths appear to get away with this as a matter of routine. In fact, even this utterly useless N=1 trial is already far better than their usual method of ‘testing’ their ‘remedies’, a.k.a. proving – because proving involves neither patients nor diseases at all.

    Had the patient died of a pulmonary embolism due to an untreated DVT, it could have put them behind bars.

    Unfortunately, this almost never happens in practice, and most certainly not in India. In most countries, alternative practitioners in general and homeopaths in particular are de facto allowed to operate above the law, and seem to be exempt from normal medical responsibilities with regard to patient care: they get away with making completely bogus diagnoses, and selling completely useless ‘remedies’ to treat those often imaginary conditions, telling people dangerous lies about health and sickness (e.g. that vaccines are Bad), and still make their patients pay through the nose for the privilege of being SCAMmed – just compare a normal GP’s consultation fee with a standard homeopathic consultation fee to see the difference.

  • CON-MED (conventional medical) doctors do N=1 studies all the time. its called “Off-Label” prescribing. They hear about what some other doctor did with their patient for a similar condition, maybe in a clinical case report, and they do the same. And they are using dangerous drugs with serious side effects. Why shouldnt a homeopath do a clinical trial with something that is benign? Stay away from drug-happy doctors folks!

    • bravo!
      excellent try to use a fallacy: tu quoque

      • Your attacking a homeopath for publishing a clinical finding of a cured case. That is what homeopaths do, which you should know! That is how homeopathy moves forward. I am just defending him. And pointing out that conventional doctors do the same all the time, but to much more deleterious effect.

    • @Roger I can think of another argument for opting to use a homeopathic solution, rather than a surgical or pharmaceutical one.

      Another scenario: If a patient’s cardiologist, pulmonologist and hematologist feel the patient is a “high risk” patient, this case can serve as a teaching case for; as you stated, “what some other doctor did with their patient for a similar condition”.

      IMO, the author of this blog too often ignores, or purposely fails to consider, the totality of the clinical presentations of patients in similar situations. He views it as another chance to bash homeopathy.

      • So why do you think a homeopathic solution is not used in these cases, Sandra?

        And what are these “high-risk” patients of which you speak? What do you know of the care provided in such cases?

        Nothing, Sandra. You know nothing. You are bloviating again in your typical way, labouring once more under your delusions of significance.

        Homeopathy does not now and will never have any role in the treatment of the critically-ill patient. Why do you think this is? Is it because doctors everywhere are ignorant of its powers and just need a retired medical transcriptionist from New Mexico to tell them all where they are going wrong, or is it that they know homeopathy has been repeatedly shown to be laughable fantasy-based nonsense which deserves no place in responsible healthcare?

        I’ll let you guess.

        • Lenny, Nice ad hominum attack! Really low. Homeopathy has been and will continue to be used for critically ill patients, for any condition you care to name.

          Get your head out of your ass and go sit in at the clinic at the Homeopathic Medical School or Dr Farokh Master’s in Mumbai, or anywhere else.

          After the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, homeopaths collated their results from almost 27,000 cases and they had a 1.05% mortality rate. Conventional doctors had anywhere from 10 to 30% mortality rate depending on what you read.

    • Dear Roger,
      This week, I was told that the wife of a close friend of mine was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Over the last days, I have spent some time to read up on this disease to learn about the prognosis for her and the treatment options.

      Since you are one of the most outspoken critics of evidence-based medicine (EBM) posting on this blog (calling EBM practitioners “CON-MED” doctors [R1] or “conventional medical SS” [R2] and claim that EBM doctors hand out death sentences to their patients [R3], I thought that I should share some of the information with you.
      I apologize for this long post, but I hope that this will help you (and maybe others) to understand why people should trust scientific research and EBM, instead of wishful thinking and unproven BS like homeopathy.

      To put emphasis on this point, I will indicate just a few of the many scientific milestones (SM) that were achieved within the last couple of years that led to today´s evidence-based treatment options for this disease.
      ________________________________
      CML is a form of cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by the uncontrolled growth of certain blood building cells in the bone marrow. Without EBM treatment, the disease is deadly and the median survival time for CML patients is ca. 3–5 years from time of diagnosis.

      The disease is often detected via laboratory analysis of the patient´s blood (SM1) and confirmed by molecular genetic methods called Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization and Polymerase Chain Reaction (SM2).
      Before the year 2000, treatment options were quite limited. The scientific progress in the field of molecular genetics (culminating in the elucidation of the complete human genome, SM3) allowed to identify the molecular cause for this disease.
      It is a chromosome translocation that happens a single bone marrow cell, which then leads to the production of a defect protein called BCR-ABL-tyrosine kinase… but I won´t go into more detail.

      This discovery allowed the identification of very specific chemicals that specifically block this defect protein. These chemicals are called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI, SM4).
      One example is Imatinib, which was identified via rational drug design & high-throughput screening of chemical libraries (SM5) and was approved as a drug in the US in the year 2001.
      Today, it is very well understood how these chemicals interact and block the activity of the defect protein, since the structures of the BCR-ABL-tyrosine kinase and it´s interaction partners have been identified by a scientific method called X-ray crystallography (SM6).

      This new class of drugs is very efficient, and the side-effects are often moderate and allow the patients a nearly normal lifestyle. If the disease is detected in time and treated with the novel class of TKI, then the life expectancy is close to the average.
      ________________________________

      Although I still feel very bad for my friend´s wife because of the devastatingly bad news, this ongoing scientific progress is definitely very encouraging.

      So… now let´s compare this with homeopathy.
      How many scientist milestones were achieved in the field of homeopathy since it was made-up by Samuel Hahnemann, more than two hundred years ago?
      Well… there were exactly zero! In over 200 years!!

      You might not trust me, since I am not an educated homeopathy practitioner. Therefore, I will repeat the wise words of Dr. Michaela Geiger, 1st chairwoman of the DZVhÄ (German central association of homeopathic doctors), when she was asked this question in a recent TV interview [R4].
      _____________________________________
      Reporter:
      Which milestones have been achieved in homeopathy, what concretely has changed over the last 200 years?
      Dr. Geiger:
      There is further -well, for us, from the core- further developments that one, well, looks further into the scientific impulse, well, what in basic science, what in clinical science, care science is present, that one further develops… that’s a given.

      Reporter:
      But what progress is there precisely, very concretely, since Hahnemann. What has changed fundamentally, in the way you conduct homeopathy?
      Dr. Geiger:
      Well, I think it continues, too… I think it is further important to develop the basic science to -let me say- further advance the non-molecular principle…

      Reporter:
      You now look into the future. But the question is: when we look back at 200 years of development. Which concrete milestones have been achieved?
      Dr. Geiger:
      I think from the scientific character it really should continue to develop further, be it -as already said- in terms of basic science, care science, clinical science… fact is: the demand is higher than ever, and to do justice to this balancing act, we have to proceed… and there always is enough room to improve, well, it is really important to go ahead.

      Reporter:
      But: concrete milestones of the scientific development in homeopathy are so far absent?!
      Dr. Geiger:
      Important is that one really looks how it now has developed, and if one -in a medical sense- has to handle the different treatment options, you have to literally welcome this to further develop this in a therapeutic setting.
      _____________________________________

      So, Roger, do you recognize any difference between scientific research and homeopathy?!
      I hope that this will help you to see EBM in a different light.

      [R1] https://edzardernst.com/2020/02/homeopathy-can-play-significant-therapeutic-roles-in-very-serious-diseases-a-case-report-that-is-deeply-worrying/#comment-121031

      [R2] https://edzardernst.com/2020/02/german-court-defends-the-madness-of-homeopathy/#comment-120998

      [R3] https://edzardernst.com/2020/02/german-court-defends-the-madness-of-homeopathy/#comment-121139

      [R4] https://www.ardmediathek.de/ard/player/Y3JpZDovL2Rhc2Vyc3RlLmRlL3JlcG9ydGFnZSBfIGRva3VtZW50YXRpb24gaW0gZXJzdGVuL2RkMjZmY2I1LTM5ODctNDcyZS04ZWMzLTU0ZWUxYjNhNzRmNQ/homoeopathie-die-macht-der-kuegelchen
      Minutes 38:00-40:00

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