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DTB: Vol 25, No 1

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Homeopathy: a non-scientific approach to human disease

Homeopathy is a therapeutic approach to human health problems but its efficacy and validity are not supported by scientific evidence. Although its social impact is small, the real effects of homeopathic products should be evaluated and communicated in the same way as other pseudotherapies are. Independent studies have consistently demonstrated that –apart from its placebo effect– homeopathy is not effective for the treatment of any health problem. Homeopathy actually exploits confounding factors such as the natural course of disease and regression toward the mean, among others. Thus, health improvements related to these factors are attributed to the use of homeopathy by patients. Other cognitive biases are also exploited to falsely demonstrate that homeopathy is effective.
Health professionals should not recommend the use of homeopathic products to their patients, as they are expected to use a scientific evidence-based approach to health problems. Manipulation of vulnerable patients in clinical practice should be firmly rejected, and therapies based on beliefs should never be offered to patients as a therapeutical option.

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  • VICENTE BAOS. General Practitioner. Madrid Regional Health Service, Spain
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