Background: Mortality in patients with severe sepsis remains high despite the development of several therapeutic strategies. The aim of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was to evaluate whether homeopathy is able to influence long-term outcome in critically ill patients suffering from severe sepsis.
Methods: Seventy patients with severe sepsis received homeopathic treatment (n = 35) or placebo (n = 35). Five globules in a potency of 200c were given at 12h interval during the stay at the intensive care unit. Survival after a 30 and 180 days was recorded.
Results: Three patients (2 homeopathy, 1 placebo) were excluded from the analyses because of incomplete data. All these patients survived. Baseline characteristics including age, sex, BMI, prior conditions, APACHE II score, signs of sepsis, number of organ failures, need for mechanical ventilation, need for vasopressors or veno-venous hemofiltration, and laboratory parameters were not significantly different between groups. On day 30, there was non-statistically significantly trend of survival in favour of homeopathy (verum 81.8%, placebo 67.7%, P= 0.19). On day 180, survival was statistically significantly higher with verum homeopathy (75.8% vs 50.0%, P = 0.043). No adverse effects were observed.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that homeopathic treatment may be a useful additional therapeutic measure with a long-term benefit for severely septic patients admitted to the intensive care unit. A constraint to wider application of this method is the limited number of trained homeopaths.