The objectives of this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial were to determine if there:
- (a) is an overall effect of homeopathic treatment (homeopathic medicines plus consultation) in the treatment of ADHD;
- (b) are any specific effects the homeopathic consultation alone in the treatment of ADHD;
- (c) are any specific effects of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of ADHD.
Children aged 6–16 years diagnosed with ADHD were randomized to one of three arms:
- Arm 1 (Remedy and Consultation);
- Arm 2 (Placebo and Consultation);
- Arm 3 (Usual Care).
The primary outcome measure was the change of the Conner 3 Global Index-Parent T-score (CGI-P T score) between baseline and 28 weeks.
The results showed an improvement in ADHD symptoms as measured by the CGI-P T score in the two groups (Arms 1 and 2) that received consultations with a homeopathic practitioner when compared with the usual care control group (Arm 3). Parents of the children in the study who received homeopathic consultations (Arms 1 and 2) also reported greater coping efficacy compared with those receiving usual care (Arm 3). There was no difference in adverse events among the three study arms.
The authors concluded that, in this study, homeopathic consultations provided over 8 months with the use of homeopathic remedy was associated with a decrease in ADHD symptoms in children aging 6–16 years when compared with usual treatment alone. Children treated with homeopathic consultations and placebo experienced a similar decrease in ADHD symptoms; however, this finding did not reach statistical significance when correcting for multiple comparisons. Homeopathic remedies in and of themselves were not associated with any change in ADHD symptoms.
In the discussion section, the authors make their findings a little clearer: “The findings are generally consistent with a recent meta-analysis that concluded that (i)ndividualized homeopathy showed a clinically relevant and statistically robust effect in the treatment of ADHD. Similar to the meta-analysis, the authors found individualized homeopathy (consultation plus remedy) resulted in improvement in ADHD symptoms. However, the data suggest that this effect is not due to the remedy component of the intervention.”
The authors do not cite the (to the best of my knowledge) only study that had a very similar aim, namely differentiating between the effects of the homeopathic remedy and the homeopathic consultation. It was conducted by the late George Lweith who certainly was not against homeopathy. The conclusions of this trial were as follows: Homeopathic consultations but not homeopathic remedies are associated with clinically relevant benefits for patients with active but relatively stable rheumatoid arthritis.
Both trials confirm what rational thinkers have been saying for many years: the effects that many people experience after homeopathic therapy are not due to the homeopathic remedy but to the usually long and empathetic therapeutic encounter, the placebo effect, and other non-specific effects. To put it bluntly homeopathy is a kind of amateur psychotherapy.
Before someone now claims that this means homeopathy is fine, let me tell you this: no, it is not fine! If someone needs psychotherapy, he/she should see not an amateur but a professional, i.e. a psychologist who is properly trained in what she can and cannot do.