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Homeopathic remedies - total waste of time?

24

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    jamelia wrote: »
    Nobody should underestimate the impact of placebo - it works on everyone, and is very effective.
    That's not true:
    Placebos do not work for everyone. Henry K. Beecher, in a paper in 1955 suggested placebo effects occurred in about 35% of people. However, the response rate is wide, ranging from 0% up to nearly everyone. In a dental postoperative pain model, placebo analgesia occurred in 39%. In research upon ischemic arm pain, placebo analgesia was found in 27%. The placebo analgesia rate for cutaneous healing of left hand skin was 56%.

    And even if it is effective doesn't always mean the effect is desirable. For a demonstration, just give a child a drink, tell them it's alcoholic and watch them act like an idiot. People have been known to have negative side effects after taking placebos in the same way as normal drugs (which suggests that at least some of the side-effects from regular drugs are actually placebo-induced) and withdrawal symptoms when coming off them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So, some studies show that homeopathic remedies are no more effective than a placebo. Studies also show that the placebo effect helps approximately 1 in 3 people. Personally, I'd be happy to try something with a 1 in 3 chance of helping.

    There's possibly a good case for arguing that homeopathy shouldn't be used entirely in place of conventional medicine, but is there actually any reason why it shouldn't be used in conjunction? Even if just to exploit the placebo effect.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    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'.

    You do know how most drugs are developed right? Randomly playing with making molecules and then seeing if they do anything useful. Also, do you have any clue as to the background story of Aspirin?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Loads of drugs are on the market for things far from their original intended illnesses; Viagra's an excellent example. But that does show the power of medical research.

    Homeopathy shouldn't be used instead of "proper" medicine- as I say, "alternative medicine" that works is just called "medicine"- but using it as well as "proper" medicine can be a good thing. People who believe that they will get better generally do better than those who don't, and if homeopathy gives people that faith then so what? £4m is nothing in today's money, the NHS spend almost the same amount on rent for empty buildings, and homeopathy probably helps more sick people than an empty office block does.

    My health insurance covers me for aromatherapy, homeopathy, chiropractic, Indian massage and various other things. Do I think that a massage is the same as medical treatment? No. But it can help as part of a holistic treatment plan- the massages I have on the health insurance help my depression just as much as the SSRIs do.

    I fully agree that data is not the plural of anecdote, but if something works then what's the big deal?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I fully agree that data is not the plural of anecdote, but if something works then what's the big deal?

    Exactly.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So find me some evidence that says homeopaths are exempt?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ~
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So find me some evidence that says homeopaths are exempt?

    Here.
    Manufacturers of homeopathic remedies were previously banned from listing the clinical conditions or ?indications? that products might be used to treat, due to a lack of evidence that they work.

    But under the new license granted by the MHRA, the label on a £5.30 packet of 84 pillules will now read: ?A homeopathic medicinal product used within the homeopathic tradition for symptomatic relief of sprains, muscular aches and bruising or swelling after contusions.?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    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.

    Explain the science behind the MMR jab.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    jamelia wrote: »
    Why? How is that relevant?

    Post #30 by IWS suggests that it is relevant.

    Perhaps it is not, and he will delete post #30.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Explain the science behind the MMR jab.

    Explain the science behind Jesus.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Explain the science behind Jesus.

    Is there any ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Explain the science behind Jesus.

    That implies that you can take the MMR on faith with no contemporary evidence. I don't see the analogy.

    How vaccines work, from the NHS website
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    That implies that you can take the MMR on faith with no contemporary evidence. I don't see the analogy.

    How vaccines work, from the NHS website

    I'm just fucking with GoS. He pops up, never says what he means, and then fucks off again. But he is a massive Jesus-face which makes me laugh given how sceptical he (sometimes) pretends to be.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm still not seeing how the packaging on homeopathic treatments makes any unreasonable claims?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    if it was the placebo effect, how come the first things i tried didnt work when i wanted them to?

    If it was placebo, how could it have worked on my sons and my friends childrens skin conditions when the children in question didnt even know they were being treated?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    and i didnt realise nelsons put claims on their products. Ive only ever seen proper homeopathic medicine which comes in plain packaging with no claims or any information on the packaging apart from the name and strength. I thought that was some requirement, in the same way that most vitamins and herbal products wont have any claims as to what they are for on the packets either
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    if it was the placebo effect, how come the first things i tried didnt work when i wanted them to?

    I am afraid only god has this answer, maybe the symptoms went by itself. Some pregnant women do not get morning sickness at all. Attributing it to some remedy that has NOTHING in it, that could in any way work for the symptom, is even less compelling as pure coincidence.

    It is no exaggeration when someone says "there is no active agent in it", (compared to very very very little), because the typical dilution (as has been said before, just making it graphic), is one single molecule of active agent in a sphere of water with a diameter from here to the sun, without exaggeration. Do you think you are taking in any hint of the actual medicine with a little sip, even just a single molecule?

    If this "memory effect" of water, which is completely made up, true, how come we do not poison ourselves by drinking any water, since in the smallest imaginable dose, there is surely potent poisons dissolved, even in the cleanest water.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still don't see the problem. Homeopathic remedies work for some people. Is the dilution rate really a reason to not use them if they work for you?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm loving this debate. Finally something to get our teeth into in P&D.

    Ironic then that I have nothing to add to what has already been said :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still don't see the problem. Homeopathic remedies work for some people. Is the dilution rate really a reason to not use them if they work for you?

    the reason is they C A N N O T work, not because I or science says, but because they are virtually indistinguishable from any sip of water or piece of lactose sugar. Why don't you convince yourself you are getting better anyway and have it work that way, because the only ways they can "work" is placebo or coincidental subsiding of the symptoms. Why do you attribute the "working for some people" effect to the homeopathic remedy and not to divine intervention?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Alright, I may have lied a little there.

    The key component in this discussion is one of "evidence". When we talk about evidence in this sense we are talking about the tried and tested scientific evidencing which should be used when offering a treatment to patients. As this BMJ article states, "Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients." This evidence comes in a number of forms; meta-analyses and systematic reviews of double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are considered the best approaches and "conventional wisdom" has lesser standard. Anecdotal doesn't appear at all.

    This is the problem that homeopathy faces, most of the evidence is anecdotal and there a very, very few studies which have been carried out to the degree required to fulfill the "systematic review" standards. Therefore they cannot claim to be "evidence based" treatments.

    Which bring us onto the question of NHS funding. In theory, the NHS should only offer treatments which fall into the "systematic review" standard. It's certainly an ideal tha NICE apply these days. however, if that was the case then you would find that huge element of NHS funded care would disappear over night - the biggest of these is Physiotherapy. Sure there are some reviews which have been carried out but the majority of Physio treatment actually falls into the "conventional wisdom" category - these are lessons learned over time through trial and error.

    Now, the question posed earlier was about whether the NHS should fund something which has no greater effect than "placebo". As someone who funds treatments, I'd say it's a tough one to answer. We have a limited pot of funding to treat people and we have to decide what has priority for that funding. Personally I would rather fund something with a strong evidence base over homeopathy even though I appreciate that homeopathy may "work" for some people.

    We are getting to a point when choice of treatment is going to be a big battle ground between the NHS and our patients. Should people be able to choose their treatment, regardless of evidence, or should the NHS only offer treatment which are "proven"?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    StrubbleS wrote: »
    the reason is they C A N N O T work, not because I or science says, but because they are virtually indistinguishable from any sip of water

    This is exactly it. According to the "laws" of homoeopathy every single drop of water that comes out of your tap is a homoeopathic remedy for one or, more likely, a hundred different ailments.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    jamelia wrote: »

    The onus isn't on the non-believer to show that it doesn't work. The onus is on the person claiming it does work to show that it does, and how. There's lots of stuff I don't believe in - ghosts, demons, astrology. The burden of proof is on the person claiming these things exist to provide evidence that they do, not the other way around.

    Im not really particularly interested in converting anyone else to homeopathy as much as non believers seem to have in telling me im wrong, and what I and countless people worldwide have experienced is just a figment of our imagination or some amazing coincidence time and time again, so no, the onus isnt on me to prove anything to you. Try it if you like. if you dont, then dont
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You do know how most drugs are developed right? Randomly playing with making molecules and then seeing if they do anything useful. Also, do you have any clue as to the background story of Aspirin?
    Yes I do know, and that's quite an over-simplification of biomedical research. Developing small molecules is just one part of drug development - the other part is finding potential biological targets. Vast amounts of biomedical research go into investigating the mechanisms involved in disease. I think you're confusing drug companies' research for the entirety of the field, when in reality a lot of effort and thought goes into biomedical research before drug targets are even considered. You seem to be trying to use the exceptions to disprove the rule, but still I don't see how your examples add any credence whatsoever to the scientific case for homeopathic treatments?
    non believers seem to have in telling me im wrong, and what I and countless people worldwide have experienced is just a figment of our imagination or some amazing coincidence time and time again
    Nobody is saying you're imagining anything - it's entirely possible you took a homeopathic remedy, then got better soon afterwards. The problem is that anecdotal evidence is not useful, as there are lots of factors that could have influenced the outcome after your treatment - least of all that you would have recovered anyway, and of course the placebo effect. There may be "countless people worldwide" who see a benefit, but if you take those people and compared them to countless other people given 'only' water instead of a homeopathic remedy, there would be no difference in the outcome. This has been shown already.
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