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

I have not often seen a paper reporting a small case series with such an impressively long list of authors from so many different institutions:

  • Hospital of Lienz, Lienz, Austria.
  • WissHom: Scientific Society for Homeopathy, Koethen, Germany; Umbrella Organization for Medical Holistic Medicine, Vienna, Austria; Vienna International Academy for Holistic Medicine (GAMED), Otto Wagner Hospital Vienna, Austria; Professor Emeritus, Medical University of Vienna, Department of Medicine I, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address: office@ordination-frass.at.
  • Resident Specialist in Hygiene, Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Außervillgraten, Austria.
  • St Mary’s University, London, UK.
  • Umbrella Organization for Medical Holistic Medicine, Vienna, Austria.
  • Shaare Zedek Medical Center, The Center for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Apotheke Zum Weißen Engel – Homeocur, Retz, Austria.
  • Reeshabh Homeo Consultancy, Nagpur, India.
  • Umbrella Organization for Medical Holistic Medicine, Vienna, Austria; Vienna International Academy for Holistic Medicine (GAMED), Otto Wagner Hospital Vienna, Austria; Chair of Complementary Medicine, Medical Faculty, Sigmund Freud University Vienna, Austria; KLITM: Karl Landsteiner Institute for Traditional Medicine and Medical Anthropology, Vienna, Austria.
  • WissHom: Scientific Society for Homeopathy, Koethen, Germany.

In fact, there are 12 authors reporting about 13 patients! But that might be trivial – so, let’s look at the paper itself. The aim of this study was to describe the effect of adjunctive individualized homeopathic treatment delivered to hospitalized patients with confirmed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Thirteen patients with COVID-19 were admitted. The mean age was 73.4 ± 15.0 (SD) years. The treating homeopathic doctor was instructed by the hospital on March 27, 2020, to adjunctively treat all inpatient COVID-19 patients homeopathically. The high potency homeopathic medicinal products were administered orally. Five globules were administered sublingually where they dissolved, three times a day. In ventilated patients in the ICU, medication was administered as a sip from a water beaker or 1 ml three times a day using a syringe. All ventilated patients exhibited dry cough resulting in respiratory failure. They were given Influenzinum, as were the patients at the general inpatient ward.

Twelve patients (92.3%) were speedily discharged without relevant sequelae after 14.4 ± 8.9 days. A single patient admitted in an advanced stage of septic disease died in the hospital. A time-dependent improvement of relevant clinical symptoms was observed in the 12 surviving patients. Six (46.2%) were critically ill and treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). The mean stay at the ICU of the 5 surviving patients was 18.8 ± 6.8 days. In six patients (46.2%) gastrointestinal disorders accompanied COVID-19.

The authors conclude that adjunctive homeopathic treatment may be helpful to treat patients with confirmed COVID-19 even in high-risk patients especially since there is no conventional treatment of COVID-19 available at present.

In the discussion section of the paper, the authors state this: “Given the extreme variability of pathology and clinical manifestations, a single universal preventive homeopathic medicinal product does not seem feasible. Yet homeopathy may have a relevant role to play precisely because of the number and diversity of its homeopathic medicinal products which can be matched with the diversity of the presentations. Patients with mild forms of disease can use homeopathic medicinal products at home using our simple algorithm. As this Case series suggests, adjunctive homeopathic treatment can play a valuable role in more serious presentations. For future pandemics, homeopathy agencies should be prepared by establishing rapid-response teams and efficacious lines of communication.”

There is nothing in this paper that would lead me to conclude that the homeopathic remedies had a positive effect on the natural history of the disease. All this article actually does do is this: it provides a near-perfect insight into the delusional megalomania of some homeopaths. These people are even more dangerous than I had feared.

32 Responses to Adjunctive homeopathic treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A case study of homeopathic delusion

  • A classic misjudgment of alternative medicine: Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  • Hahnemann would spin in his grave at the idea of homeopathy being used adjunctively. But homeopaths seem willing to abandon the tenets of Hahnemann when it suits…..

    • as well as the tenets of logic and ethics.

    • Not correct! Hahnemann was an extremely innovatively thinking scientist (significantly more than some here who also call themselves a scientist, as Prof. Hahn so clearly put it), far ahead of his time in terms of medical scientific findings, repeatedly checking and adjusting his findings empirically. One can safely conclude that he would win the Nobel Prize today because of his scientific ingenuity.
      The fact that he was also an intolerant, dogmatic patriarch does not distinguish him much from today’s eminence-blessed university professors …
      And what speaks against disregarding these dogmas and inadequacies in order to practice IM for the benefit of the patient?

      • If the tenets of homeopathy were even remotely true, drinking tap water would cure you from any ailments.

      • @Heinrich Hümmer

        One can safely conclude that he [Hahnemann] would win the Nobel Prize today because of his scientific ingenuity.

        Well, I have even better news: YOU can win SEVERAL(*) Nobel prizes by simply providing scientific evidence that homeopathy works and that homeopathy’s base principles are correct.

        *: You would be awarded
        – the Nobel prize for physics for demonstrating that a particular substance does not have to be actually present in order to exert measurable effects,
        – the Nobel prize for chemistry for demonstrating that diluting solutions increases their reactivity, and of course
        – the Nobel prize for medicine for demonstrating that making extremely cheap, safe and effective medicines from any arbitrary substance is so simple that even 5-year-old children can do it, and that we can do away with all those nasty, dangerous chemical medicines from greedy pharmaceutical companies.

        So what’s keeping you? Just provide the evidence and you’ll be world-famous ad rich! And maybe also important: I will personally apologize to you, and admit that I was completely wrong about homeopathy all those years.

        And oh, I also think that Hahnemann should be awarded several Nobel prize posthumously:
        – the Nobel prize for literature for writing one of the most persistent pieces of fiction after the bible,
        – the Nobel prize for economics for the idea of selling people plain water as a valuable medicine – and even being wildly successful at that.
        The only reason he can’t get the Nobel peace prize is that he was a bad-tempered vindictive little git. Which is a bit of a shame really, as homeopathy would otherwise have the Full Set, something never achieved before.

      • Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier was a scientist, Michael Faraday was a scientist.

        Hahnemann was an unsuccessful physician, but not a scientist. His “discovery” of homeopathy saved him, but he could not or would not figure out that “homeopathy” was nonsense.

    • 17 May, David B said: “Advocates of homeopathy formerly rather active on this blog in relation to the putative prophylactic benefits of homeopathic ‘medicines’ distributed in India to prevent Coronavirus infection, have fallen strangely silent…..”

      How ugly it must be to know that a day earlier you were saying something and that your own boss, Edzard, contradicted you by complaining that some doctors published an article on the role of homeopathy in COVID.

  • TIME was the curative agent here.
    If Hahnemann was here now, his thinking would say that allopathic medicine has got it right, and i cannot do better.
    Magical thinking has been left behind by most people. It makes for good story lines, but not practical stuff.

  • One can safely conclude that he would win the Nobel Prize today because of his scientific ingenuity.

    As far as I’m aware, Nobel prizes aren’t handed out for careers of being consistently and demonstrably wrong about stuff.

  • “While it is not possible to attribute the positive outcomes of this Case series to homeopathic therapy, other studies are emerging also suggesting that additive homeopathy can be helpful in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”

    There is no reason whatsoever, either in this study or any other, to believe that homeopathy is or could be helpful for treatment of COVID-19, so why the word “also” in the second clause?

    Bad-blind faith is the simple answer.

    • That’s an interesting observation. Well spotted! The inclusion of “also” suggests an attempt at deliberate obfuscation.

  • TESTING…. are you blocking comments?

  • The correct homeopathic remedy always works … immediately.
    I have experienced this many times.
    * headaches
    * fatigue
    * colds and flus
    * digestive issues like bad hearburn at 2am, 3am 4am
    One dose and it’s gone
    Can I explain it?
    Frankly, I don’t care to explain, I just want to feel good. And without side effects.

    A friend (with a degree in astrophysics and physics lecturer) once said
    “we cannot rule anything out, including homeopathy (I think she was thinking string theory and quantum physics). After all, we routinely use vaccines”.

    • “Frankly, I don’t care to explain”
      why then do you post such nonsense?

    • There is no such thing as a correct homeopathic remedy. No homeopathic remedy has been reliably demonstrated to work better than placebo for any health condition.

      No laboratory in the world, homeopathic or otherwise, can tell one 30C remedy from another, with the labels off the bottles.

    • Which goes to show why you shouldn’t ask physicists about medicine…

      • I don’t understand what point you are making, Murmur. What are you responding to – my comment about identifying 30C ‘remedies’, or something earlier in this thread? Can you explain a little more, please?

      • Which goes to show why you shouldn’t ask physicists about medicine…

        And neither should you ask a homeopath about medicine (and at least a physicist can explain that homeopathic preparations are nothing but water and alcohol, or sugar pellets).

  • I find it strange that:

    * we don’t give people with COVID anything. “Just go home and let’s see how you get on. If your lips turn blue and you cannot breathe, then go to the hospital”
    What? This seems not only UNscientific but also devoid of any human empathy

    * The “powers that be” have damned all medications people have been using against COVID calling them useless
    and yet they have come forward with no replacement, instead pinning ALL their hopes on vaccines. Why?

    * mass COVID “jabbing” is depicted as scientific
    (and yet, we jab everyone without even checking if they already have antibodies! That seems crazy to me)

    • I bet a lot of things seem crazy to you, Kay

    • Seldom was nonsense so arrant…..

    • We don’t give people with COVID anything.

      That is because there isn’t anything that helps against the infection. There are a few medicines that can help alleviate the worst symptoms, e.g. dexamethasone or other corticosteroids, but those are not suitable for over-the-counter use, and don’t help in less severe cases anyway.

      The “powers that be” have damned all medications people have been using against COVID calling them useless …

      Um, yes, that is because they ARE useless, and sometimes even worse than useless. Some of these medicines may have serious side effects.

      … and yet they have come forward with no replacement …

      Coming up with an effective medicine is not simply a case of wanting it bad enough. Normally, it takes many years to find something that works, and turn it into an effective medicine. And for lots of conditions, no medicine has been found so far, in spite of a lot of work spent searching for it. Creating an effective vaccine OTOH is relatively straightforward for most viral infections.

      …instead pinning ALL their hopes on vaccines. Why?

      Is this a trick question? They’re pinning their hopes on vaccines because they are the only thing that DOES work. And even better: vaccines PREVENT Covid-19, instead of just treating it. A safe and effective vaccine is ALWAYS better than a medicine.

      mass COVID “jabbing” is depicted as scientific

      Yes, indeed, it is, for the reasons given already: it very effectively prevents the disease, is extremely safe, and very cheap too. When I lose even half an hour of work because of sickness, that already costs me more than a $20 vaccine.

      (and yet, we jab everyone without even checking if they already have antibodies! That seems crazy to me)

      Why is that crazy? A reliable antibody test before vaccination would cost time and money. And the vast majority of people have not come into contact with the virus yet, so most of them would then still have to receive the vaccine, effectively doubling the cost and the inconvenience to people. And no, there are no drawbacks to vaccinating people who already have antibodies.

    • we jab everyone without even checking if they already have antibodies! That seems crazy to me

      The presence of antibodies against the coronavirus or its components indicates past exposure to the virus or to a vaccine. This is not the same as immunity against it, and it is by no means clear that the antibodies that are detected in standard tests are necessarily “neutralising antibodies” i.e. protective against future infection. More important for immunity is the stimulation of memory B-cells (which enable antibodies to be produced rapidly in response to a subsequent infection), and also the T-cell response. Neither of these are straightforward to test for, even in a research setting.

      Unfortunately many people have a very simplistic view of the immune system, which is extremely complicated, and also of medical tests, which they expect to give an all-or-nothing answer.

      Vaccination reduces the severity of infection, reduces the chance of becoming infected and reduces viral shedding in a vaccinated individual who is unfortunate enough to contract the infection. In combination with social distancing, the wearing of masks, hand-washing and other basic infection control measures it can ensure that each case, on average, infects fewer than one other and therefore that the pandemic will dwindle away. However, for this to happen enough people need to be vaccinated worldwide. Allowing the virus to circulate widely in a largely unvaccinated population (as is happening in India at the moment) encourages the emergence of new variants with the potential to be resistant to existing vaccines.

      we don’t give people with COVID anything. “Just go home and let’s see how you get on. If your lips turn blue and you cannot breathe, then go to the hospital”
      What? This seems not only UNscientific but also devoid of any human empathy

      How does this seem unscientific? Perhaps you have unrealistic expectations of what science can achieve in a short time frame. Do you consider it more empathic to offer treatment that does not work? Are you proposing that people with less severe infections who will be quite safe at home should be admitted to hospitals which are already struggling to cope? Have you considered that giving ineffective treatment might delay somebody from seeking help should they deteriorate?

      The “powers that be” have damned all medications people have been using against COVID calling them useless and yet they have come forward with no replacement,

      You seem to be taking the view that it is better to appear to be offering a treatment, even if it is useless or possibly harmful, rather than doing nothing. In other words you are suggesting a policy of satisfying unrealistic demands rather than keeping people safe. That may be a good way to win votes but it won’t save any lives, and we have already seen what has happened in countries where political leaders have based their policies on ideology rather than evidence.

      Why?

      What do you propose that they should do instead?

      • You seem to be taking the view that it is better to appear to be offering a treatment, even if it is useless or possibly harmful, rather than doing nothing.

        Yet I think that this is the very human mindset that has given us all those ineffective and even harmful treatments in the course of history, as doctors (or anyone who cares for a sick person) find it very difficult to just do nothing – even if there’s nothing they can do. Standing by and seeing someone suffer is something that no-one can do without thinking that they should do something – anything – about it.

      • You seem to be taking the view that it is better to appear to be offering a treatment, even if it is useless or possibly harmful, rather than doing nothing.

        It’s part of the 18th century paradigm that homeopathy developed in, in which, as Voltaire put it, the function of medicine was to amuse the patient while nature took its course. If the patient was lucky the “amusement” came in the form of a placebo rather than a distraction.

  • In another thread in the Blog some months ago, I mentioned that my friends and neighbours P and O were having a difficult time because P, the wife, had been found to have bowel cancer with metastases in liver and lung. It is terminal. It’s been a hard two years for them, but good medical treatment at our nearby hospital and in Glasgow has enabled P to keep going and to have a fairly good quality of life.

    I reflect that, left to the mercies of homeopathic treatment instead of proper medical care, she would have died about eighteen months ago. En route, she has had to have a bowel operation because of risk of perforation, and she survived this well. Chemotherapy has at times made her feel a bit yucky, but somewhat shrunk the tumours, extending her life substantially.

    On Wednesday of last week she awake, after a rather disturbed night, to find that she had lost power in her left side. She was taken to hospital, rapidly worsening, and a CT scan showed a 2cm diameter tumour in her brain. It looked as if she might die in a day or two. However, good medical treatment has reduced the inflammation caused by the tumour, and she got so much better that yesterday she was able to come home, and walk through their front door on her own two feet. On homeopathic ‘treatment’ only, she would have simply worsened and died.

    The end is, sadly, still going to be the same. But good medical treatment has given her an extended period of survival with a very decent quality of life (and as an aside, the restrictions of Covid, mean that everyone else has been just as isolated as she has had to be because of her compromised immune system!).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories