Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a common disorder. This trial tested the efficacy of individualized homeopathy (IH) in comparison with placebo in patients with CRS.
This double-blind, randomized (1:1), placebo-controlled, preliminary trial (n = 62) was conducted at the National Institute of Homoeopathy, West Bengal, India. Primary outcome measure was the sino-nasal outcome test-20 (SNOT-20) questionnaire; secondary outcomes were the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire and EQ-5D-5L visual analogue scale scores, and five numeric rating scales (0-10) assessing intensity of sneezing, rhinorrhoea, post-nasal drip, facial pain/pressure, and disturbance in sense of smell, all measured at baseline and after the 2nd and 4th months of intervention. Group differences and effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were calculated on the intention-to-treat sample.
The two groups were comparable at baseline. Attrition rate was 6.5% (IH: 1, Placebo: 3). Although improvements in both primary and secondary outcome measures were higher in the IH group than placebo, with small to medium effect sizes, the group differences were statistically non-significant (all p > 0.05, unpaired t-tests). Calcarea carbonica, Lycopodium clavatum, Sulphur, Natrum muriaticum and Pulsatilla nigricans were the most frequently prescribed medicines. No harmful or unintended effects, homeopathic aggravations or any serious adverse events were reported from either group.
The authors who are affiliated with the following institutions:
- Department of Materia Medica, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
- Department of ENT, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
- Department of Paediatrics, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
- Department of Organon of Medicine and Homoeopathic Philosophy, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
- Department of Repertory, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
- Mahesh Bhattacharyya Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Govt. of West Bengal, Howrah, West Bengal, India.
concluded that there was a small but non-significant direction of effect favoring homeopathy, which ultimately renders the trial as inconclusive. Rigorous trials and independent replications are recommended to arrive at a confirmatory conclusion.
Sorry, but this is the wrong conclusion. In the name of honesty and research integrity, it should read something like this:
Our study failed to show that IH has a significant effect on CRS.
But of course, this is no surprise. Why should IH work for CRS? The only remotely interesting finding here, in my view, is the fact that the authors noted not a single homeopathic aggravation (i. e. the occurrence of the ‘drug picture’ in a patient and thus a kind of homeopathic ‘proving’). Using IH, homeopaths would expect aggravations with some regularity. Could it be that homeopathic aggravations (and ‘provings’) are, like all effects of homeopathy, the result of misinterpretation, fantasy and wishful thinking? Investigating the issue systematically, we found already 17 years ago that this systematic review does not provide clear evidence that the phenomenon of homeopathic aggravations exists.