ANSWER TO LANCET
This letter was sent to the editor of Lancet.
We read carefully the article "Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy” written by Shang A. et al, (1) and some points should be clarified.
It is well known that specific technical difficulties are emerging when a comparative study of trials of homeopathy and allopathy is undertaken (2).This is due to the fact that the basic rule of Classical Hahnemannian Homeopathy - only one remedy for each patient at any given time- is not taken into consideration in most of the studies. Unfortunately, there are other practices that have been developed which are opposite to this basic principle of Homeopathy, resulting in confusion in assessing and validation of clinical trials.
Only a specific (personal) homeopathic remedy can stimulate each human organism at every time. The response of a specific homeopathic remedy is characterized by reactions that are completely different from placebo. (3)
“Clinical homeopathy” described by the authors of the article as the administration of a single remedy for a disease, and “complex homeopathy” as the administration of a mixture of several different remedies to a patient, are approaches completely different to the principles of Classical Hahnemannian Homeopathy.
On the other hand, Isopathy is a different type of intervention, than Homeopathy, that also should not be included.
From the above we can argue that the above selections of trials involved in this study, have led to erroneous results.
In addition, in Classical Homeopathic treatment, there are also different rules of intervention according to the level of health of each patient, (4) and therefore some studies of Classical Homeopathy, were severely criticized in the past (5).
A comparative study in medical science has more specific weight concerning the promotion of scientific truth. The conduction of the specific comparative study is unfortunately biased from the beginning, by analyzing heterogeneous trials under the term “ trials of homeopathy” while they are not at all, according to the above definitions.
The fact that in this comparative study the word “Homeopathy” has been used to select trials from various data bases, does not justify the ignorance of the basic theory of Hahnemannian homeopathy.
1. Shang A, Huwiler-Muntener K, Nortey L, et al. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy. Lancet 2005;366:726-732.
2. Oberbaum M, Vithoulkas G, Van Haselen R. Clinical trials of classical homeopathy: reflections on appropriate research designs. J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9:105-11.
3. Vithoulkas G. The Science of Homeopathy, Grove Press Ed. New York 1981, ISBN:0-8021-5120-5 (pbk.)
4. Vithoulkas G. Levels of Health according to Classical Homeopathic Theory in: A Strategy for Research in Homeopathy, European Committee for Homeopathy: Assessing the Value of Homeopathy for Health Care in Europe,3rd Edition-2005.
5. Vithoulkas G. Homeopathic treatment of chronic headache: a critique. Homeopathy. 2002;91:32-4.
George Vithoulkas and Spiros Kivellos
International Academy of Classical Homeopathy
Tel: 0030 24240 65142
Fax: 0030 24240 65147