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Homeopathy: still no proven efficacy

A review of clinical trials has not produced convincing evidence of homeopathy's efficacy.

Homeopathy occupies a remarkable position in therapy: no evidence of efficacy is required for homeopathic medicines to be commercialised and they rarely cause adverse effects (it is better to use only highly diluted substances).

In 1999, Prescrire's review on homeopathy contained no evidence that homeopathic treatments were any more effective than placebo.

The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) has reviewed the evidence on homeopathy up until 2010. The indications for which homeopathy was tested were diverse. Most of the trials analysed were deemed of mediocre quality.

There was no evidence of any homeopathic treatment being more effective than the placebo effect.

A review of 19 clinical trials analysed the adverse effects of homeopathy, without highlighting any risks linked to these treatments.

Homeopathy has no proven efficacy. Healthcare professionals who use it would be advised to bear in mind situations for which there are treatments whose harm-benefit balance is more favourable, and offer these to patients.

©Prescrire 1 October 2012

"Homeopathy: still no evidence of efficacy" Prescrire Int 2012; 21 (131): 248. (Pdf, subscribers only).

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