Context: Allergies are the most common immunologic diseases among the general population. Increasing evidence suggests that the incidence of allergic disorders is rising dramatically. Conventional medicine provides only limited relief and does not offer a complete cure to this health problem. Consequently, patients seek additional approaches and therapies to integrate into their healthcare. Homeopathy is one of the leading complementary modalities used to treat this health problem.
Objective: This preliminary study assessed the effect of integrating homeopathic treatment in allergic diseases on conventional medication consumption in a health maintenance organization.
Design: Retrospective outcome study designed as a before-after trial.
Setting: Patients were studied in a complementary medicine clinic affiliated with an Israeli health maintenance organization.
Participants: Forty-eight patients were treated for allergic diseases with homeopathic remedies and conventional medications.
Main outcome measures: A computerized medication chart for each patient was evaluated for conventional medication consumption 3 months before and 3 months after the homeopathic intervention. Each patient served as his or her own control.
Results: Fifty-six percent of patients in this study reduced their use of conventional medication following the homeopathic intervention. Patients who used conventional medications for their allergic disorders reduced their medication expense by an average of 60%, with an average savings of $24 per patient in the 3-month period following the homeopathic intervention.
Conclusions: This retrospective outcome study demonstrates cost savings for an Israeli health maintenance organization. The homeopathic intervention led to a modest but significant reduction in the use of medications commonly used to treat allergic conditions and their complications. Larger controlled studies are needed to verify these findings.