Characteristics of Homeopathy Users among Internal Medicine Patients in Germany

Forsch Komplementmed. 2016;23(5):284-289. doi: 10.1159/000450818. Epub 2016 Oct 7.


Background: Homeopathy use continues to grow in many European countries, and some studies have examined the characteristics of patients using homeopathy within the general population. The aim of this study was to identify predictors for homeopathy use among internal medicine patients.

Patients and methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted among all patients being referred to the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine at Essen, Germany, over a 3-year period. The analysis examined whether patients had used homeopathy for their primary medical complaint before, the perceived benefit, and the perceived harm of homeopathy use. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results: Of 2,045 respondents, 715 (35.0%) reported having used homeopathy for their primary medical complaint (diagnosis according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems), with 359 (50.2%) reporting perceived benefits and 15 (2.1%) reporting harm. Homeopathy use was positively associated with female gender, high school level education, suffering from fibromyalgia or subthreshold depression, and being fast food abstinent, while patients with osteoarthritis, spinal or other pain, smokers, and patients with a high external-social health locus of control were less likely to use homeopathy.

Conclusion: Personal characteristics and health status may impact on the use and the perceived helpfulness of homeopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Materia Medica / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Materia Medica