Homotoxicology—a review of randomised clinical trials

Abstract

Aim

Homotoxicology is a form of therapy that uses homoeopathically diluted remedies with a view of eliminating toxins from the body. It is not a therapeutic method based on accepted scientific principles or biological plausibility. Yet numerous clinical studies have claimed efficacy. The aim of this systematic review is to summarise and critically evaluate the evidence from rigorous clinical trials of this form of therapy.

Methods

Seven electronic databases were searched for all studies of homotoxicological medicines for any human condition. To be included, trials had to be randomised and placebo-controlled. Data from such studies were validated and extracted according to pre-defined criteria. Their methodological quality was formally assessed using the Jadad score. Key data of all included trials were tabulated and summarised in narrative form.

Results

Seven trials met our inclusion criteria. Their Jadad scores indicated mostly a high methodological standard. The trials tested the efficacy of seven different medicines for seven different indications. The results were positive in all but one study. Important flaws were found in all trials. These render the results of the primary studies less reliable than their high Jadad scores might suggest.

Conclusion

Despite mostly positive findings and high ratings on the Jadad score, the placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trials of homotoxicology fail to demonstrate the efficacy of this therapeutic approach.

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Acknowledgements

Conflict of interest: we asked one manufacturer for funding but were not successful. Support: E.E.’s work was financed from his unit’s core funding. K.S. was supported by the ‘Pilkington Family Trusts’.

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Correspondence to E. Ernst.

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Ernst, E., Schmidt, K. Homotoxicology—a review of randomised clinical trials. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 60, 299–306 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00228-004-0776-6

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Keywords

  • Homotoxicology
  • Homoeopathy
  • Clinical trials