It is a necessity of professional and scientific societies in any systems of medicine to have research data in a particular disease condition to establish its efficacy. Moreover there is an ever increasing demand by policy makers for evidence-based data, to make decisions in favor of a particular system of treatment. Homeopathic research is the need of the hour to prove its effectiveness to critics.
Children are frequent visitors for homeopathic consultation. As physicians we must be updated with current research literature for ourselves and also to educate parents. This article is a small effort to provide research updates in last 10 years related to pediatric disorders and role of homeopathy.
In the recent past, some studies suggested that parents use homeopathy more frequently than conventional treatment for their children.1 An ethnographic study of committed adult users in South London found that they consulted their general practitioners for diagnosis, but took homeopathy for treatment because antibiotics and other drugs were seen as weakening the immune system and counteracting the remedy.1 Many of these participants were mothers who made health decisions for their children using this same set of beliefs. A recent qualitative study in Norway found similar results. 2
HOMEOPATHY FOR CHILDREN–A GLOBAL VIEW
Homeopathy is a form of complementary/alternative medicines which is considered as a safe and effective form of treatment for children and adults. Within the UK homeopathy use is estimated at 1.9% of the adult population and around 11% for children less than 16 years. The numbers of patients using complementary medicines, including Homeopathy are growing worldwide. The use of complementary medicine, however, is not limited to adults but is also common in children (11–18%) with Homeopathy being one of the most popular systems.
This wide and growing use of complementary medicines implies a perceived deficiency in conventional medical treatment, paralleled by increasing patient dissatisfaction with conventional medicine (drug side-effects, perceived lack of holistic care), and the attraction of longer appointment times with complementary therapists.
Homeopathy for pediatrics population in general
|Title of study||Type of study||Results||Conclusion|
|Thompson EA, Bishop JL, Northstone K. The use of homeopathic products in childhood: data generated over 8.5 years from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).3||Population based Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Questionnaire provided to mothers.||Eleven and eight-tenths percent (11.8%) of this cohort used a HP at least once up to 8.5 years of age. Chamomilla for teething and Arnica for soft-tissue bruising were the most commonly used products.||Research could focus on greater information delivery to the community and monitoring of potential health and cost benefits, or side-effects of the use of HP for acute and chronic conditions in children.|
|Spence DS, Thompson EA, Barron SJ. Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study.4||Outcomes were based on scores on a 7-point Likert-type scale at the end of the consultation and were assessed as overall outcomes compared to the initial baseline assessments.||In an observational study of 6544 consecutive patients during a 6-year period, and over 23,000consultations, results showed that 70.7 % reported positive health changes, with 50.7 % recording their improvement as better (+2) or much better (+3). Of the 1270 children that were treated 80.5 % had some improvement, and 65.8 % were better (+2) or much better (+3).||Homeopathic intervention offered positive health changes to a substantial proportion of a large Cohort of patients with a wide range of chronic diseases.|
|Witt CM, Luedtke R, Baur R, Willich SN. Homeopathic Medical Practice: Long-term results of aCohort Study with 3981 Patients.5||In a prospective, multi-centre cohort study with 103 primary care practices treating 3981 patients, disease severity decreased significantly (p<0.001) over a 2 year period. Major improvements were observed for quality of life for adults and young children. 28 % (1130) of the patients were children and 97 % of all diagnoses where chronic with an average duration of 8.8 years.The most frequent diagnoses were allergic rhinitis in men, headache in women, and atopic dermatitis in children.||Disease severity and quality of life demonstrated marked and sustained improvements following homeopathic treatment period.|
|Güthlin C, Lange O and Walach H. Measuring the effects of acupuncture and homeopathy in general practice: An uncontrolled prospective documentation approach.6||A survey of more than 900 patients treated homeopathically showed substantial improvement in Quality of life over the first 6 months after treatment and this effect remained more or less stable over the following years.|
|Du Y, Knopf H. Pediatric homeopathy in Germany: results of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS).7||Last-week homeopathy use was recorded among 17,450 children aged 0-17years who participated in the 2003-2006 German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS).||Nine hundred and fifty-one homeopathic preparations were used by 718 Children (weighted prevalence 4.6%).||Pediatric homeopathy is quite popular in Germany, particularly among children from families with a higher socioeconomic status. The high level of pediatric homeopathy use in Germany warrants a critical review to determine whether it is evidence based and cost-effective.|
RESPIRATORY DISORDERS IN CHILDREN
It is commonly seen that most children come in for respiratory allergies or infections. Our medication has a definite role in treatment of respiratory disorders such as Asthma, Rhinitis, Bronchitis, Allergies and Pharyngitis. Following are positive as well as negative studies on this particular aspect.