Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of homoeopathy versus conventional treatment in routine care.
Design: Comparative cohort study.
Setting: Patients with selected chronic diagnoses were enrolled in medical practice.
Interventions: Conventional treatment or homeopathy.
Outcome measures: Severity of symptoms assessed by patients and physicians (visual rating scale, 0-10) at baseline, 6 and 12 months and costs.
Results: The analyses of 493 patients (315 adults, 178 children) indicated greater improvement in patients' assessments after homoeopathic versus conventional treatment (adults: homeopathy from 5.7 to 3.2; conventional, 5.9-4.4; p=0.002; children from 5.1 to 2.6 and from 4.5 to 3.2). Physician assessments were also more favourable for children who had received homoeopathic treatment (4.6-2.0 and 3.9-2.7; p<0.001). Overall costs showed no significant differences between both treatment groups (adults, 2155 versus 2013, p=0.856; children, 1471 versus 786, p=0.137).
Conclusion: Patients seeking homoeopathic treatment had a better outcome overall compared with patients on conventional treatment, whereas total costs in both groups were similar.