Can homeopathy help manage perennial allergic rhinitis?
Taylor MA, Reilly D, Llewellyn-Jones RH, et al, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Scotland, and other centers. Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. BMJ. Aug 19-26, 2000;321:471-476.
Do the apparent benefits of homeopathy in patients with allergic rhinitis represent a placebo effect? No, according to the results of a double-blind study that demonstrated that patients with allergic rhinitis who received homeopathy achieved significantly better nasal airflow than did similar patients who received placebo.
Taylor and coworkers studied 51 patients with perennial allergic rhinitis; 24 were randomly assigned to receive an oral homeopathic dilution of their principal inhalant allergen, and 27 received placebo. At 2 days, 29% of the patients who received homeopathy reported a worsening of rhinitis, compared with 7% in the placebo group. By 14 days, 46% and 26%, respectively, had reported adverse events.
At 3 to 4 weeks, the homeopathy-treated patients showed a mean improvement of 21% in nasal airflow, compared with 2% of the placebo group, a statistically significant difference. Visual analogue scale symptom scores reflected improvement in both groups, with no significant intergroup differences.
When the results of this study were added to those of 3 previous trials, the homeopathy-treated patients showed a 28% improvement in mean symptom score, compared with 3% for placebo recipients.
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