Objective: To evaluate the patient reported effects of homeopathic care 6 months after first consultations.
Methods: Prospective uncontrolled observational multicentre outcome study. All patients visiting 80 homeopaths all over Norway for the first time in eight different time periods from 1996 to 1998 were approached. Patients wrote down their main complaint and scored its impact on daily living on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) at the first consultation. Six months later they were asked to score again. The homeopaths recorded treatments given for up to two follow-up consultations.
Main outcome measure: Predefined as a reduction of at least 10 mm in the VAS score between the first consultation and follow-up.
Result: Patients 1097 were recruited, 654 completed the follow-up questionnaire. The main complaint improved by at least 10mm on the VAS for 71% (95% confidence interval 67-74%) of patients. The average reduction was 32mm (95% CI 30-35 mm). Fifty-one per cent (95% CI 48-55%) of the patients had an improvement in their general well being of more than 10 mm. The mean reduction in the whole group was 14mm (95% CI 12-16 mm). The proportion of patients using conventional medication reduced from 39% to 16%. Regression analysis showed that lower age and higher baseline score were predictors of better outcome.
Conclusion: In this study, seven out of ten patients visiting a Norwegian homeopath reported a meaningful improvement in their main complaint 6 months after the initial consultation.