Homeopathy for dementia
Editorial Group: Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group
Published Online: 20 JAN 2003
Assessed as up-to-date: 22 MAR 2009
Copyright © 2009 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
How to Cite
McCarney RW, Warner J, Fisher P, van Haselen R. Homeopathy for dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD003803. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003803.
- Publication Status: New search for studies and content updated (no change to conclusions)
- Published Online: 20 JAN 2003
Dementia is a common illness in older people and has major implications for individuals with the disease, their carers and society. A meta-analysis of population based studies in Europe found the prevalence of dementia in individuals over 65 to be 6.4%. Homeopathy (also spelt "homoeopathy") is a popular form of "complementary" or "alternative" treatment. Some studies have found evidence for efficacy of homeopathic treatment for some conditions, but any mechanism of action of the ultra molecular dilutions used in homeopathy is not comprehensible in terms of current scientific concepts.
To evaluate the effectiveness and safety profile of homeopathically prepared medications used in treating dementia, as established by randomized controlled trials.
The trials were identified from a searches of the Specialized Register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group, The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, LILACS, clinical trials registries and grey literature sources on 9 March 2009 using the terms alum*, homeop*, "nat sulph" and "natrum sulphate". In addition the reviewers searched CISCOM, AMED and Hom-Inform.
Leading homeopathic researchers, practitioners and manufacturers were also contacted.
All types of randomized controlled trials with a sample size of more than 20 were considered.
Data collection and analysis
The database searches resulted in one trial being identified. After examining the abstract, a paper copy was obtained and independently assessed for inclusion by RM and JW.
There were no studies that fulfilled the criteria for inclusion and no data to present.
In view of the absence of evidence it is not possible to comment on the use of homeopathy in treating dementia. The extent of homeopathic prescribing for people with dementia is not clear and so it is difficult to comment on the importance of conducting trials in this area.
Plain language summary
No evidence that homeopathy is effective in treating dementia
Dementia is a distressing illness that has major implications for individuals with the disease and their carers. Homeopathy is a popular type of complementary medicine. It is however controversial because although there is some evidence that it is not just a placebo, no one understands how it could work. The researchers did not find any good quality trials and so cannot say whether it is or is not effective for treating this condition. As no information is available on how much homeopathy is used for dementia, it is difficult to say whether it is important to conduct more trials.