Homeopathic treatment of radiation-induced itching in breast cancer patients. A prospective observational study

Homeopathy. 2004 Oct;93(4):210-5. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2004.06.004.


Following surgery for carcinoma of the breast, patients receive local radiotherapy. This can cause itching, which may be severe, in the radiation field. The affected skin usually is dry, rough and red. Twenty-five patients were treated homeopathically for radiation-induced itching. Fourteen patients developed itching during their course of post-operative radiation at 27 days median (range: 14-40). Eleven patients experienced itching in the radiation field after completion of treatment (median 21 days) after the end of their radiation treatment. A single dose of an individually selected homeopathic medicine in 30C dilution was given in the clinic, on the basis of repertorisation. Patients were asked to record a visual analogue scale (VAS) before prescription of the homeopathic medicine and at follow-up. Patients were evaluated at median 3 days (range: 1-27 days) after administration of the homeopathic medicine. In total, 14 of 25 patients (56%) responded to the first medicine. Nine patients had a second medicine, seven responded. Altogether 21 of 25 (84%) patients were successfully treated. The following medicines were employed successfully: Fl-ac 9/13, Rhus-t 3/5, Caust 2/3, Ign 2/2, Psor 2/2, gamma-ray 2/2 and Kali-bi 1/1. The VAS measurements before and after homeopathic treatment showed a reduction of the median value of 64mm (range: 20-100mm) to 34mm (median; range: 0-84mm). Homeopathic treatment of radiation-induced itching appears quite successful. The most frequently indicated and most frequently effective medicine was Fluoric acid. An approach that allows greater understanding of the patient as a whole in the short time available in a busy clinic may be required.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Austria
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Female
  • Homeopathy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Materia Medica / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / etiology*
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Radiodermatitis / drug therapy*
  • Radiodermatitis / etiology*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Materia Medica