Background: Details and effects of individualised homeopathic treatment of headache (ICD-9: 784.0) in usual care have not yet been investigated.
Methods: Prospective multi-centre observational study. Consecutive primary-care patients beginning homeopathic treatment were followed for 2 years, keeping regular records of complaint severity, health-related quality of life (QoL), and medication use.
Results: 230 adults (77.0% women), age 38.2 +/- 11.3 years, and 74 children (10.4 +/- 3.2 years, 55.4% girls) treated by 73 physicians were included. Patients suffered from headaches (average duration: adults 9.3 +/- 9.5 years, children 2.7 +/- 2.6 years) and other chronic diseases. Most patients (adults 90.0%, children 70.8%) had been pre-treated (usually with conventional treatment). Severity of diagnoses and complaints showed marked improvements in the first 3 months, continuing on until the end of the study. For headache, standardised effects (mean change divided by standard deviation at baseline) in adults reached 1.63 (95% CI 1.78-1.49), 2.27 (2.45-2.09), and 2.44 (2.63-2.25) at 3, 12, and 24 months, respectively. In children, the standardised effects at these time points were 1.67 (1.91-1.44), 2.55 (2.82-2.28), and 2.74 (3.03-2.46), respectively. Whilst the QoL among adults improved over time, this trend was not observed in children. Use of conventional treatment and health services decreased markedly.
Conclusion: This observational study of patients seeking homeopathic treatment because of headache showed consistent improvements over the 24-month period. The observational and uncontrolled character of the study design does not allow conclusions on a specific relationship between treatment and the observed effects.
Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.