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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Homeopathic treatment of patients with chronic sinusitis: A prospective observational study with 8 years follow-up

Claudia M Witt1*, Rainer Lüdtke2 and Stefan N Willich1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Centre, D-10098 Berlin, Germany

2 Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation, Am Deimelsberg 36, D-45276 Essen, Germany

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BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 2009, 9:7  doi:10.1186/1472-6815-9-7

Published: 27 July 2009

Abstract

Background

An evaluation of homeopathic treatment and the outcomes in patients suffering from sinusitis for ≥12 weeks in a usual care situation.

Methods

Subgroup analysis including all patients with chronic sinusitis (ICD-9: 473.9; ≥12 weeks duration) of a large prospective multicentre observational study population. Consecutive patients presenting for homeopathic treatment were followed-up for 2 years, and complaint severity, health-related quality of life (QoL), and medication use were regularly recorded. We also present here patient-reported health status 8 years post initial treatment.

Results

The study included 134 adults (mean age 39.8 ± 10.4 years, 76.1% women), treated by 62 physicians. Patients had suffered from chronic sinusitis for 10.7 ± 9.8 years. Almost all patients (97.0%) had previously been treated with conventional medicine. For sinusitis, effect size (effect divided by standard deviation at baseline) of complaint severity was 1.58 (95% CI 1.77; 1.40), 2.15 (2.38; 1.92), and 2.43 (2.68; 2.18) at 3, 12, and 24 months respectively. QoL improved accordingly, with SF-36 changes in physical component score 0.27 (0.15; 0.39), 0.35 (0.19; 0.52), 0.44 (0.23; 0.65) and mental component score 0.66 (0.49; 0.84), 0.71 (0.50; 0.92), 0.65 (0.39; 0.92), 0.74 (0.49; 1.00) at these points. The effects were still present after 8 years with SF-36 physical component score 0.38 (0.10; 0.65) and mental component score 0.74 (0.49; 1.00).

Conclusion

This observational study showed relevant improvements that persisted for 8 years in patients seeking homeopathic treatment because of sinusitis. The extent to which the observed effects are due to the life-style regulation and placebo or context effects associated with the treatment needs clarification in future explanatory studies.