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Homeopathic remedies - total waste of time?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Because we can have more fun here than derailing a Health post.

I'm in two minds about them. I wouldn't go homeopathic in place of conventional medicine, but I'm willing to give it a go.

Apis mel seems to bring my allergic reactions down. Steroid cream, antihistamine cream, and antihistamine tablets do as well, but adding apis mel to the armoury seems to improve things further.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I tried using 'Quiet Life' tablets when I was in the worst of my anxiety. I can't say they did much for me. That is my limited experience of alternative medicine. Antidepressants worked within a month, to remove symptoms that had crippled me for two years. Now, if only they worked on the depression too..... +___+
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Woops, I seemed to bring up a topic with a bit of controversy :blush:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    its one of those subjects where people will never agree. Im usually quite scientific and it makes sense to believe that homeopathy couldnt possibly work, but having experienced it working very very well - what can i say?

    This topic has been done quite a lot, and people who its worked for generally get shouted down, so im not sure who benefits
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    To be honest, when I'm feeling awful I'll try anything and give it the benefit of the doubt. I had no more faith in antidepressants than I did in anything else when anxiety was crushing me. It took ages to convince me to go on them. However, they just worked where other things didn't. I had also tried using Bach Rescue Remedy which, again, didn't seem to do much of anything.

    Despite the lack of perceived success with the alternative medicines I've tried I would still try more. Everyone reacts differently to different things. My goal, when feeling crap, is always to feel better and I'll try anything within reason to get there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If it had demonstrable effects above and beyond placebo it would have shown up in the studies that have been performed on it. It doesn't and the studies have shown that. Even if it worked but we didn't know how, it'd still show up as having a degree of efficacy.

    Now it doesn't really matter massively for minor ailments: taking a sugar pill over aspirin to cure a headache isn't going to bring the world to its knees. However, parents giving their children sugar pills instead of malaria medicine is fucking criminal.

    N.B.: James Randi has been taking a "fatal dose" of homoeopathic medicine on stage for years.

    ETA: A little background on it: http://www.skepdic.com/homeo.html
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    but as said in the links above, it has proven to be more effective than a placebo, but any studies that have had positive results have largely been ignored.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    From the link:
    A review of the reviews of homeopathic studies has been done by Terence Hines (2003: 360-362). He reviewed Taylor et al. (2000), Wagner (1997), Sampson and London (1995), Kleijen, Knipschild, and ter Riet (1991), and Hill and Doyon (1990). More than 100 studies have failed to come to any definitive positive conclusions about homeopathic potions. Ramey (2000) notes that

    Homeopathy has been the subject of at least 12 scientific reviews, including meta-analytic studies, published since the mid-1980s....[And] the findings are remarkably consistent:....homeopathic "remedies" are not effective.

    It's not really a controversial subject in any real sense. All the decent, peer reviewed, double blind, properly conducted and reviewed tests show it's not more efficacious than placebo.

    I don't have anything against homoeopathy, per se; it's just an idea that hasn't met any of the criteria that you would reasonably expect a medicine to have met. The "evidence" for it is purely anecdotal and has never been back up by reasoned science, so I hold it as a likely false.

    Sam Harris has an excellent example involving the late Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya was, until a couple of weeks ago, a living breathing man who millions of people claimed they'd seen perform miracles. Yet I'm under no obligation to believe that he was pulling gold watches out of thin air. Anecdotal evidence, especially for big claims, simply isn't sufficient.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As usual on this topic, I hand over to Ben Goldacre
    The typical dilution is called "30C": this means that the original substance has been diluted by 1 drop in 100, 30 times. On the Society of Homeopaths site, in their "What is homeopathy?" section, they say that "30C contains less than 1 part per million of the original substance."

    This is an understatement: a 30C homeopathic preparation is a dilution of 1 in 10030, or rather 1 in 1060, which means a 1 followed by 60 zeroes, or - let's be absolutely clear - a dilution of 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc really isn't the basis for evidencing clinical outcomes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think a lot of it depends on what medical problem you're treating.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    I think a lot of it depends on what medical problem you're treating.

    I don't think it does. They all have the same level of active ingredient (i.e. zero). But you're right in the sense that the placebo effect will only work on certain medical problems. It's unlikely to make your cancer disappear, but it might make that back pain go away. The placebo effect is really interesting. People often recommend you not to buy branded painkillers, for example, because the stuff in the packet is just the same as the cheap equivalent. But trials have actually shown that people feel less pain when the product comes in different coloured packaging, despite the product inside being the same. Similarly, people respond better to a placebo injection than a placebo pill, because the brain associates an injection with a far more drastic intervention, and responds accordingly.

    The main issue with homeopathy, however, is that they are legally allowed to do what no other product is allowed to do, and advertise effects that they cannot prove. If I put some of the claims of homeopathy on a box of cereal, I would be forced to pull it from the shelves, but when someone puts them on a box posing as medicine and sells them alongside real medicine in a chemist, apparently that's fine.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    I think a lot of it depends on what medical problem you're treating.
    In terms of what - efficacy? Perhaps the placebo effect has different levels of effect with different conditions, but that's still all it could possibly be, based on current scientific understanding.

    For those interested in the power of the placebo, check out the nocebo effect, whereby the efficacy of drugs or treatments can be reduced, or even negative effects when given a placebo, by the patient's negative expectations.

    I'm interested in why when it comes to alternative medicine (and perhaps conventional medicine), people are often more happy to believe anecdotal evidence than reports from scientific studies. Is it caused by distrust or misunderstanding of science? Is science communication just not effective enough? I suppose the case of homeopathy is more complicated, as the case for its effectiveness is probably inflated in people's eyes by support by the government, health practitioners and the media. This situation has to change.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think youll find no homeopathic remedy has any sort of claim of any type on the packaging. Its not allowed to have, so please get your facts straight first
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    if you think its *just a placebo* and then next youre saying *actually placebos have been proven to be very effective* then whats your problem exactly?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    if you think its *just a placebo* and then next youre saying *actually placebos have been proven to be very effective* then whats your problem exactly?
    One of my problems is that NHS money is spent on homeopathic treatments. That's as good an endorsement as any label. Why should real drugs have to pass comparatively rigorous testing to be prescribed on the NHS, whereas alternative treatments don't? It's a waste of public money and gives completely the wrong message to the public.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So what about anti-depressants then? Many studies show that they're barely more effective than placebo...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    One of my problems is that NHS money is spent on homeopathic treatments. That's as good an endorsement as any label. Why should real drugs have to pass comparatively rigorous testing to be prescribed on the NHS, whereas alternative treatments don't? It's a waste of public money and gives completely the wrong message to the public.
    Youre acting as though this is something that doctors actively push and that a fortune is spent on it or something, when in actual REAL LIFE, most doctors dont even mention it, and hardly anyone asks for it, in fact whenever ive asked for any sort of natural remedy at the doctors, its not been available, so im not sure where or why this is seen to be some major expense.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So what about anti-depressants then? Many studies show that they're barely more effective than placebo...
    If there is a lack of compelling evidence about any drug on the NHS I would feel similarly. I'm not saying all drugs on the NHS are proven, but at least scientifically developed drugs are based on biochemical reasoning or demonstrated effect, rather than a completely made up 'law of similars'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Youre acting as though this is something that doctors actively push and that a fortune is spent on it or something, when in actual REAL LIFE, most doctors dont even mention it, and hardly anyone asks for it, in fact whenever ive asked for any sort of natural remedy at the doctors, its not been available, so im not sure where or why this is seen to be some major expense.
    According to recent data, 31% of primary care trusts are still funding homeopathy. The cost of homeopathy has been recently calculated as £4 million per year - but to me the amount of money isn't the point, any money spent is too much.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    right so more than 2 thirds wont fund it, and of that remaining minority that will fund it, do they push it, or is it just available if people are interested and ask, and do the people who use it feel they benefit from it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    right so more than 2 thirds wont fund it, and of that remaining minority that will fund it, do they push it, or is it just available if people are interested and ask, and do the people who use it feel they benefit from it?
    I have no idea if they push homeopathy or not, I can't comment on something I don't know about. What I do know is that public money is spent on homeopathy, and I'm against public money being spent on a treatment that has no compelling evidence and absolutely no scientific basis. It's irrelevant whether anecdotally some people find a benefit - it's unethical to fund a placebo with public money.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have no idea if they push homeopathy or not, I can't comment on something I don't know about. What I do know is that public money is spent on homeopathy, and I'm against public money being spent on a treatment that has no compelling evidence and absolutely no scientific basis. It's irrelevant whether anecdotally some people find a benefit - it's unethical to fund a placebo with public money.

    Like Arctic Roll said, what about anti-depressants? Trials are inconclusive.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Youre acting as though this is something that doctors actively push and that a fortune is spent on it or something, when in actual REAL LIFE, most doctors dont even mention it, and hardly anyone asks for it, in fact whenever ive asked for any sort of natural remedy at the doctors, its not been available, so im not sure where or why this is seen to be some major expense.

    Exactly. I once mentioned sleeping issues and was told to try Nytol instead of sleeping tablets. It wasn't pushed - it was just "I can't give you sleeping tablets because..." and suggested I use Nytol instead.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,212 Skive's The Limit
    Nothing but a placebo effect.
    Worth mentioning tho that the placebo is one of the most effective treatments there is - it works on everything.
    Yesterday is history
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    its not exactly expensive though is it compared to most other drugs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Those saying it's placebo - do you have scientific proof to back this up?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    .
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think youll find no homeopathic remedy has any sort of claim of any type on the packaging. Its not allowed to have, so please get your facts straight first
    How do you know what you're buying then? Boots don't seem to have got this message on their website, if these descriptions are anything to go by:
    A homeopathic medicine for the relief of sleeplessness.

    Nelsons Teetha Teething Granules for teething pain relief. Soothes and calms. Each 300mg sachet contains 6c homeopathic potency of Chamomilla.

    Nelsons Travella is a homeopathic remedy that can help relieve travel sickness without side effects.

    Nelsons Pollena is a homeopathic medicine for the relief of hayfever.

    What are these if they're not a claim of an effect? That's before we even consider the fact that these products are designed to mimic, right down to the language used, real drugs. The packaging looks the same, the product names are designed to imitate drug names, the language used on the box is the same (always read the label), and despite MHRA rules that products must "make no therapeutic claims," they blatantly do. I'll point out that this isn't the case for all Boots homeopathic products, many of which point out that there is no evidence for their effectiveness. But crucially, this disclaimer wasn't present on the products I mentioned.

    Not quite as bad as something I found on Amazon UK though, advertising itself as a "Homeopathic Alternative to the Flu Vaccine"
    Product Features
    Provides seasonal protection against current flu viruses
    Increases the body?s ability to fight against invading germs
    Improves recovery time from common flu symptoms (blocked nose, sneezing, coughing)
    Discourages secondary complications of the lungs, chest, throat and ears
    Protects against the flu while traveling or on vacation

    Do you think that product should legally be allowed to be sold in the UK? And do you think they should legally be allowed to make such claims in their advertising?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    its not exactly expensive though is it compared to most other drugs.

    How much is a consultation? My doctor is free. And he's qualified.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    Those saying it's placebo - do you have scientific proof to back this up?

    Of course. Well the actual claim is that homeopathy is no more effective than placebo.
    In 2001, a meta-analysis of clinical trials on the effectiveness of homeopathy concluded that earlier clinical trials showed signs of major weakness in methodology and reporting, and that homeopathy trials were less randomized and reported less on dropouts than other types of trials.

    In 2002, a review of systematic reviews found that higher-quality trials tended to have less positive results, to the point that those results were clinically irrelevant. Also, when taking collectively all the systematic reviews, there was no convincing evidence that any homeopathic remedy had better effects than placebo, and current evidence did not allow to recommend its usage in clinical treatment.

    In 2005, The Lancet medical journal published a meta-analysis of 110 placebo-controlled homeopathy trials and 110 matched medical trials based upon the Swiss government's Program for Evaluating Complementary Medicine, or PEK. The study concluded that its findings were compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homeopathy are nothing more than placebo effects.

    A 2006 meta-analysis of six trials evaluating homeopathic treatments to reduce cancer therapy side effects following radiotherapy and chemotherapy found "encouraging but not convincing" evidence in support of homeopathic treatment. Their analysis concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to support clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer care".

    A 2007 systematic review of homeopathy for children and adolescents found that the evidence for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and childhood diarrhea was mixed. No difference from placebo was found for adenoid vegetation, asthma, or upper respiratory tract infection. Evidence was not sufficient to recommend any therapeutic or preventative intervention.

    The Cochrane Library found insufficient clinical evidence to evaluate the efficacy of homeopathic treatments for asthma dementia, or for the use of homeopathy in induction of labor. Other researchers found no evidence that homeopathy is beneficial for osteoarthritis, migraines or delayed-onset muscle soreness.

    From Wikipedia.

    And here's an article by Ben Goldacre, which talks about the homeopathic research as well as the attitude of those within this dishonest con job of an industry.

    I particularly like the bit about how a BBC investigation revealed that over half of homeopathic practitioners they approached recommended not having the MMR jab, all of them recommended homeopathic treatment to prevent malaria, and Prince Charles' office tried to get the lead researcher sacked.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    #
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