Objectives and background: The objective of this study was to evaluate treatment details and possible effects of an individualized homeopathic treatment in patients with migraine in usual care.
Design: This was a prospective multicenter observational study. Consecutive patients beginning homeopathic treatment in primary care practices were evaluated over 2 years using standardized questionnaires. The data recorded included diagnoses (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision) and current complaints, including their severity (numeric rating scale = 0-10), health-related quality of life (QoL, 36-item Short-Form Health Survey), medical history, consultations, homeopathic and conventional treatments, as well as other health service use.
Results: Two hundred and twelve (212) adults (89.2% women), mean age 39.4 +/- 10.7 years were treated by 67 physicians. Patients had suffered from migraine for a period of 15.2 +/- 10.9 years. Most patients (90.0%) were conventionally pretreated. The physician workload included taking the initial patient history (120 +/- 45 minutes), case analysis (40 +/- 47 minutes), and follow-ups (7.3 +/- 7.0, totaling 165.6 +/- 118.8 minutes). Patients received 6.2 +/- 4.6 homeopathic prescriptions. Migraine severity showed marked improvement with a large effect size (Cohen's d = 1.48 after 3 months and 2.28 after 24 months. QoL improved accordingly (Mental Component Score and Physical Component Score after 24 months: 0.42 and 0.45). The use of conventional treatment and health services decreased markedly.
Conclusions: In this observational study, patients seeking homeopathic treatment for migraine showed relevant improvements that persisted for the observed 24 month period. Due to the design of this study, however, it does not answer the question as to whether the effects are treatment specific or not.