Objectives: To carry out a preliminary trial evaluating the effectiveness of two types of homeopathy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors.
Design: Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled.
Settings/location: Private medical clinic, Seattle, WA.
Subjects: Women with a history of breast cancer who had completed all surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment and who had an average of at least three hot flashes per day for the previous month.
Interventions: Subjects were randomized to receive either an individualized homeopathic single remedy, a homeopathic combination medicine, or placebo. Patients were seen by homeopathic providers every 2 months for 1 year.
Outcome measures: Hot flash frequency and severity, Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), Short Form 36 (SF-36).
Results: There was no significant difference found in the primary outcome measure, the hot flash severity score, although there was a positive trend in the single remedy group during the first 3 months of the study (p = 0.1). A statistically significant improvement in general health score in both homeopathy groups (p < 0.05) on the SF-36 after 1 year was found. Evidence of a homeopathic "drug proving" in the subjects receiving the homeopathic combination medicine who were not taking tamoxifen also was found.
Conclusions: Small sample size precludes definitive answers, but results from this preliminary trial suggest that homeopathy may be of value in the treatment of menopausal symptoms and improving quality of life, especially in those women not on tamoxifen. Larger studies should be carried out that also include healthy women who want to avoid hormone replacement therapy.