Objectives: A pharmacoeconomic study to compare, in terms of: medical effectiveness, quality of life and costs two treatment strategies ('homeopathic strategy' vs 'antibiotic strategy') used in routine medical practice by allopathic and homeopathic GPs in the treatment of recurrent acute rhinopharyngitis in 18-month to 4-year-old children.
Methods: Statistical analysis of data obtained from a population of 499 patients included in a previous 6-month prospective, pragmatic study. The patients were regrouped according to type of drug prescribed. Medical effectiveness was assessed in terms of (i) episodes of acute rhinopharyngitis, (ii) complications, (iii) adverse effects. Quality of life was assessed using the Par-Ent-Qol scale. Direct medical costs (medical consultations, drug prescriptions, prescriptions for further tests) and indirect medical costs (sick-leave) were evaluated from three viewpoints (society, patient, Social Security) using public prices and French Social Security tariffs.
Results: The 'homeopathic strategy' yielded significantly better results than the 'antibiotic strategy' in terms of medical effectiveness (number of episodes of rhinopharyngitis: 2.71 vs 3.97, P<0.001; number of complications: 1.25 vs 1.95, P<0.001), and quality of life (global score: 21.38 vs 30.43, P<0.001), with lower direct medical costs covered by Social Security (88 Euros vs 99 Euros, P<0.05) and significantly less sick-leave (9.5% of parents vs 31.6% of parents, P<0.001).
Conclusions: Homeopathy may be a cost-effective alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of recurrent infantile rhinopharyngitis.