14 November 2016
Marking WHO Antibiotic Awareness Week 14-20 November 2016 and EU Antibiotic Awareness day 18 November 2016: Homeopathy offers a viable alternative to the use of antibiotics in primary care
In September 2016 the United Nations convened a high level conference on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), adding its voice to that of WHO and the European Commission in declaring the situation a global emergency. Existing antibiotics are losing their effectiveness, there are no new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical industry's development pipeline.
The policy documents of the UN, WHO and EU Commission all emphasise the need for alternative approaches and products to be evaluated and researched to assist in the fight against AMR. Existing evidence shows homeopathy can play a role in reducing the use of antibiotics in primary care. e.g. GPs frequently feel pressured to prescribe for what are often minor infectious conditions such as Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs). Research shows that homeopathic medicines can have a preventative effect against URTIs (a) and GPs can effectively treat URTIs when they occur (b) . Both approaches have been shown to result in a reduction of antibiotic prescribing in primary care practice.
Given the growing crisis of AMR, serious consideration should now be given to integrating homeopathy into national healthcare systems as part of an integrated approach to reducing AMR.
(a) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27186371 2016 May 16;11:19. doi: 10.1186/s40248-016-0056-1. eCollection 2016.Effectiveness, safety and tolerability of a complex homeopathic medicinal product in the prevention of recurrent acute upper respiratory tract infections in children: a multicenter, open, comparative, randomized, controlled clinical trial.
Jong MC, Buskin SL, Ilyenko L, Kholodova I, Burkat J, Weber S, Keller T, Klement P.
(b) http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089990 March 19 2014 Management of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by Different Medical Practices, Including Homeopathy, and Consumption of Antibiotics in Primary Care: The EPI3 Cohort Study in France 2007–2008
Lamiae Grimaldi-Bensouda, Bernard Bégaud, Michel Rossignol, Bernard Avouac, France Lert, Frederic Rouillon, Jacques Bénichou, Jacques Massol, Gerard Duru, Anne-Marie Magnier, Lucien Abenhaim, Didier Guillemot.
20 September 2016Early life exposure to antibiotics linked to development of eczema and hayfever while homeopathy is linked to resolution of such atopic conditions
Two recently published pieces of research contrast the
adverse effects of early exposure to antibiotics with the successful
treatment of atopic conditions with homeopathy.
In a paper
presented to the annual conference of the European Respiratory Society
in London on 6 September 2016 early exposure to antibiotics in early
life was linked to later development of
eczema and hayfever. A total of 22 studies (including 394,517 patients)
were selected to study the risk of eczema and 22 studies (including
256,609 patients) to study the risk of hay fever, with some of these
being the same (12 studies including 64,638 patients) studies for both
conditions. The increased risk of eczema due to early life use of
antibiotics varied from 15% to 41% depending on the type of study
analysed. Use of antibiotics in early life also increased the risk of
hay fever in later life by 14% to 56% again dependent on the type of
study analysed. Furthermore, the association was stronger if patients
had been treated with 2 courses compared with one course of antibiotics
both for eczema and for hay fever.
20 August 2016
Meanwhile a long-term observational study of 857 children published in
the journal "Homeopathy' shows that long term treatment with homeopathy
can successfully treat atopic conditions such as eczema and asthma.
75.8% of atopic children had moderate or major improvement (67.1% with
asthma as the primary disease; 84.2% rhinitis; 84.2% dermatitis). At
re-evaluation after 5–10 years, complete remission of atopic symptoms
was obtained in 70.1% of the children: 84.2% in dermatitis; 48.1% in
allergic rhinitis; 71.4% in asthma. Children with two or three atopic
diseases at the first visit were completely cured in 40% of cases.
While the evidence for the impact of early exposure to antibiotics in
children is building a very worrying picture with other studies linking
it to the development of food allergies and obesity for example, it is
reassuring to know that it is possible to reverse such conditions in
childhood using homeopathy.
New study reinforces the evidence that homeopathic treatment improves survival time in patients diagnosed with cancer
In a follow-up study to an earlier paper (a) Frass and colleagues
further confirm the potential of homeopathy to improve survival time in
patients diagnosed with cancer. A re-analysis of homeopathic
patient data in comparison to control patient data from the same
Outpatient´s Unit of the Medical
University of Vienna shows that utilizing homeopathy gives a
statistically significant (p<0.001) advantage over control patients
regarding survival time. In conclusion, bearing in mind all limitations,
the results of this retrospective study suggest that patients with
advanced stages of cancer might benefit from additional homeopathic
treatment until a survival time of up to 12 months after diagnosis.
Reference: a) Complementary Therapies in Medicine 2014 Apr;22(2):320-32.
homeopathy in cancer patients: Retrospective survival data from a
homeopathic outpatient unit at the Medical University of Vienna.
23 February 2016
One in six Italians use homeopathy
A new report from Italy published on 23 February by health
sector research institute DoxaPharma shows a high demand for treatment and a growing market for homeopathic medicinal products. In addition some 20,000 Italian doctors recommend the use of homeopathy
Total turnover in the whole homeopathy sector in Italy
amounted to more than 300 million euros, making it the third
largest market for homeopathic products in Europe after Germany and France.
For more information: http://www.ansa.it/english/news/general_news/2016/02/23/one-in-six-italians-use-homeopathy_071cefbb-28c0-4cca-beb8-b56f688c88f4.html
18 November 2015
EU and WHO responses to the threat of Anti-microbial Resistance must include investment in researching alternatives - including homeopathy.
As WHO declares its first International Antibiotics Awareness Week http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2015/world-antibiotic-awareness-week/event/en/ and the EU its annual Antibiotics Awareness Day http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/EAAD/Pages/Home.aspx it is time both organisations woke up to the potential of homeopathy and other Traditional and Complementary Medicine approaches to playing a key role in providing solutions to the challenge of antibiotic over-use and antimicrobial resistance.
The pharmaceutical industry has admitted that it is facing great difficulty developing new antibiotics to replace existing medicines which are rapidly losing their effectiveness as a result of long-term overuse and mis-use in human and animal health. Meanwhile the pronouncements on the threat to human health grow in severity month by month. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
said this week: “ECDC results published today show that the threat of
antibiotic resistance is increasing day by day. If left unchecked, it
has the capacity to turn the clock back on medicine by a hundred years.
Below this short article we present two reference documents, one on the potential of Traditional and Complementary Medicine as a whole published by EUROCAM http://www.cam-europe.eu/
of which ECCH is a member, and the second published by the Homeopathy Research Institute https://www.hri-research.org/
specific to the potential of homeopathy with two evidence-based recommendations for areas of research in animal and human health. In the light of the global crisis of AMR, those with areas of responsibility in the EU and WHO should take the time to consider them both. eurocam_positionpaper_cam_and_amr_november2015.pdf
hri response to hoc on amr.pdf
23 September 2015
Switzerland sets an example for the rest of Europe in regulating CM practice
On 9 September 2015 the Swiss State Secretariat for training, research and innovation (SEFRI) approved a Higher Professional Exam for complementary therapists in Switzerland who do not already fall under the category of 'naturopath' . With about 12000 practitioners practising a range of therapies this new exam creates a new category of practitioner that will be entitled to use the recognised and protected title 'complementary therapist with federal diploma' .
Earlier in the year in April 2015 SEFRI approved the higher professional examination for naturopaths. This gives a recognised and protected title throughout Switzerland of 'naturopathic practitioner with Federal Diploma . The profession of naturopath covers the practice of four disciplines which are discrete systems of medicine: Ayurvedic medicine,
Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional European Natural Medicine. Homeopaths practising in Switzerland are now required to sit and pass the higher professional examination after which they can use the official title 'naturopath with national diploma specialised in homeopathy' .
Through the introduction of these requirements and standards the Swiss government has fulfilled requirements introduced as a result of complementary medicine being written into the Federal Constitution following a referendum in 2009 in which the Swiss people voted for it to happen.
The Swiss Government have acted responsibly in the interests of their citizens, ensuring the quality and safety of care offered by homeopaths and other CM practitioners. While not a member of the EU, Switzerland is bordered by 5 other European countries and has set a clear example for other countries to follow.
12 August 2015
Two new studies show the potential for homeopathy to play an active role in reducing the use of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance
Two recent trials further demonstrate the potential of homeopathic
treatment in acute upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs)and thereby contribute to reducing antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.
The first trial published in Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
in 2014 was a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial involving the use of homeopathic medicine for acute cough in upper respiratory tract infections and acute bronchitis.
Eighty patients were randomized to receive placebo (n = 40) or the homeopathic syrup (n = 40). All patients completed the study. In each group cough scores decreased over time, however, after 4 and 7 days of treatment, cough severity was significantly lower in the homeopathic group than in the placebo one (p < 0.001 and p = 0.023, respectively). Sputum was collected from 53 patients: in both groups its viscosity significantly decreased after 4 days of treatment (p < 0.001); however, viscosity was significantly lower in the homeopathic group (p = 0.018). Instead, the subjective evaluation did not significantly differ between the two groups (p = 0.059). No adverse events related to any treatment were reported. The researchers concluded that the homeopathic syrup employed in the study was able to effectively reduce cough severity and sputum viscosity, thereby representing a valid remedy for the management of acute cough induced by URTIs.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1094553913001259
The same team have now followed up with a real-life preliminary observational study in a pediatric population published in Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine
comparing those who received homeopathic treatment versus those who received homeopathic treatment plus antibiotic. The aims were: 1) to assess whether the addition of antibiotics to a symptomatic treatment had a role in reducing the severity and duration of acute cough in a pediatric population, as well as in improving cough resolution; 2) to verify the safety of the two treatments.
Eighty-five children were enrolled in an open study: 46 children received homeopathic syrup alone for 10 days and 39 children received homeopathic syrup for 10 days plus oral antibiotic treatment (amoxicillin/clavulanate, clarithromycin, and erythromycin) for 7 days. To assess cough severity they used a subjective verbal category-descriptive (VCD) scale.
The results of the study showed that both groups responded similarly to the two courses of treatment.
However, two children
(4.3 %) reported adverse effects in the group treated with the
homeopathic syrup alone, versus 9 children (23.1 %) in the group treated
with the homeopathic syrup plus antibiotics (P = 0.020).
The researchers conclude from the data that the homeopathic treatment in question has potential
benefits for cough in children as well, and highlight the strong safety
profile of this treatment. Additional antibiotic prescription was not
associated with a greater cough reduction, and presented more adverse
events than the homeopathic syrup alone.