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Revista do Hospital das Clínicas

Print version ISSN 0041-8781

Abstract

ALMEIDA, Renan Moritz V. Rodrigues. A critical review of the possible benefits associated with homeopathic medicine. Rev. Hosp. Clin. [online]. 2003, vol.58, n.6, pp. 324-331. ISSN 0041-8781.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0041-87812003000600007.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the recent scientific research progress on homeopathy. METHODOLOGY: Homeopathy was evaluated in terms of its clinical research; in vitro research, and physical foundations. The Medline database was the main reference source for the present research, concerning data of approximately the last 10 years. Secondary references (not available in this database) were obtained by means of direct requests to authors listed in the primary references. RESULTS: Clinical studies and in vitro research indicate the inefficacy of homeopathy. Some few studies with positive results are questionable because of problems with the quality and lack of appropriate experimental controls in these studies. The most recent meta-analyses on the topic yielded negative results. One of the few previous meta-analyses with positive results had serious publication bias problems, and its results were later substantially reconsidered by the main authors. The sparse in vitro homeopathic research with positive results has not been replicated by independent researchers, had serious methodological flaws, or when replicated, did not confirm the initial positive results. A plausible mechanism for homeopathic action is still nonexistent, and its formulation, by now, seems highly unlikely. CONCLUSIONS: As a result of the recent scientific research on homeopathy, it can be concluded that ample evidence exists to show that the homeopathic therapy is not scientifically justifiable.

Keywords : Homeopathy; Complementary and alternative medicine; Pseudo-science.

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