Objective: The prevalence of allergic disorders in western industrialized countries has steadily increased during the last three decades. Public acceptance of complementary treatment methods is high. The aim of this study was to assess the real-life efficacy of classical homeopathic treatment and the potential to reduce conventional medication dosage.
Methods: A prospective multicenter observational study was conducted by general practitioners specializing in homeopathy in nine Austrian test centers. Personal data and symptoms of allergic patients diagnosed with allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma and neurodermatitis before and after homeopathic treatment were assessed by means of questionnaires (classification of patients' condition by using visual analogue scales/VAS).
Results: 40 out of 44 patients originally recruited for the trial were found to meet the eligibility criteria. All clinical symptoms were shown to improve substantially, in most cases quite markedly (p < 0.001). 21 patients undergoing conventional medication therapy at baseline (62%) were able to discontinue at least one medication, while the remaining patients (38%) reported a dose reduction in at least one medication. No side effects were reported during treatment.
Conclusion: The symptoms of patients undergoing homeopathic treatment were shown to improve substantially and conventional medication dosage could be substantially reduced. While the real-life effect assessed indicates that there is a potential for enhancing therapeutic measures and reducing healthcare cost, it does not allow to draw conclusions as to the efficacy of homeopathic treatment per se.