45 physicians treated 82 adults who had psoriasis for an average of 15 years.
96% of these patients had been treated before.
The patients were treated for 2 years.
And, the results.
The initial doctor/patient interview took an average of 127 minutes.
There were an average of 7 subsequent consultations that lasted about 19 minutes for a cumulated time of 169 minutes.
Patients received an average of 6 homeopathic prescriptions.
Diagnoses and complaints of severity improved “markedly.”
Quality of life improved (SF-36 physical component score and mental component scores improved.
Conventional treatment and health service use were “considerably” reduced.
The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Under classical homeopathic treatment, patients with psoriasis improved in symptoms and quality of life.”
In general medical practice, measurement of psoriasis disease activity is straightforward. As done in this study, physicians ask their patients how they‘re doing, and patients report their perceptions of the severityof their disease. Combining this with thephysicianâ€™s global assessment of the severity of the lesions,the physician makes a determination of how severe the diseaseis and how well the patient is progressing with therapy.
In rigorously designed studies of psoriasis treatments however, the standard, objective measure of response is the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). The PASI is a measure of the average redness,thickness, and scaliness of the lesions (each graded on a 0â€“4scale), weighted by the area of involvement.
Unfortunately, it appears that the researchers in Berlin did not use PASI.
This is might be what Prof. Josef Smolle from the University of Graz, in Austria was referring to in 2003 when he wrote, “There is no convincing evidence for a therapeutic effect [from homeopathic treatment in psoriasis]. There are only a few controlled trials, most of them with negative results. The few studies with positive results have not been reproduced. Acceptance by the patient seems largely based on counseling and emotional care rather than on objective responses to the homeopathic drugs.”
From my perspective, what’s most impressive about this study is the duration of the initial consultation between the doctors and patients.
It’s unfortunate that the 45 physicians who participated in this study chose not to use PASI. In its absence, it’s impossible to make any objective comparison to the response to the homeopathic treatments used in this study vs other alternative and allopathic treatments.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.