Efficacy of individualized homeopathic medicines in primary dysmenorrhea: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial

J Complement Integr Med. 2021 Jun 3. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2020-0512. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: Homeopathic treatment is claimed to be beneficial for primary dysmenorrhoea (PD); still, systematic research evidences remain compromised. This study was undertaken to examine the efficacy of individualized homeopathic medicines (IH) against placebo in the treatment of PD.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at the gynecology outpatient department of Mahesh Bhattacharyya Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, West Bengal, India. Patients were randomized to receive either IH (n=64) or identical-looking placebo (n=64). Primary and secondary outcome measures were 0-10 numeric rating scales (NRS) measuring intensity of pain of dysmenorrhea and verbal multidimensional scoring system (VMSS) respectively; all measured at baseline, and every month, up to 3 months. Group differences and effect sizes (Cohen's d) were calculated on intention-to-treat (ITT) sample.

Results: Groups were comparable at baseline (all p>0.05). Attrition rate was 10.9% (IH: 7, placebo: 7). Differences between groups in both pain NRS and VMSS favoured IH over placebo at all time points (all p<0.001, unpaired t-tests and two-ways repeated measures analysis of variance) with medium to large effect sizes. Natrum muriaticum and Pulsatilla nigricans (n=20 each; 15.6%) were the most frequently prescribed medicines. No harms, serious adverse events and intercurrent illnesses were recorded in either of the groups.

Conclusions: Homeopathic medicines acted significantly better than placebo in the treatment of PD. Independent replication is warranted. Trial registration: CTRI/2018/10/016013.

Keywords: homeopathy; numeric rating scale; placebo; primary dysmenorrhea; randomized controlled trial.