Safety and cost benefit

Safety

Doctors at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital (now the Royal London Hospital of Integrated Medicine) conducted a review of the safety of homeopathy. Papers published between 1970 and 1995 were studied for reports of adverse effects of homeopathy.

The vast majority of adverse effects reported in clinical trials were temporary aggravations of symptoms or other mild and transient effects (mostly headaches, tiredness, skin eruptions, dizziness or diarrhoea). Only a very few isolated reports of proper adverse effects were attributable to homeopathic medicines.1

The authors of the review concluded: “Homeopathic medicines in high dilutions, prescribed by trained professionals, are probably safe and unlikely to provoke serious adverse reactions”.

One of the expressed reasons for the popularity of homeopathy among patients is that it does not have the side effects associated with many conventional drugs.2

Cost benefit

The available evidence suggests that homeopathy has the potential to generate savings through reduced conventional prescribing and demand for other services.3

In France, where homeopathy is an integral part of the healthcare system, a government report showed that the total cost of care per patient receiving homeopathic treatment was 15% less than the cost of treatment provided by conventional physicians4.

References:
1. Dantas F, Rampes H. Do homeopathic medicines provoke adverse effects? A systematic review. Br Homeopath J 2000; 89: S35–8.
2. Sharples F, van Haselen R. Patients’ perspectives on using a complementary medicine approach to their health. A survey at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital NHS Trust. London, 1998.
3. Smallwood, C. The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the NHS, FreshMinds. October, 2005
4. French Government Report: Social Security Statistics, CNAM (National Inter-Regulations System) 61, January, 1991.