Intervention Review

Homeopathy for dementia

  1. Robert W McCarney1,*,
  2. James Warner2,
  3. Peter Fisher3,
  4. Robbert van Haselen4

Editorial Group: Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group

Published Online: 20 JAN 2003

Assessed as up-to-date: 22 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003803

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.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Hertfordshire, Department of Psychology, Hatfield, UK

  2. 2

    Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Imperial College London, Department of Psychological Medicine, London, UK

  3. 3

    Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital, London, UK

  4. 4

    INTMEDI, Surrey, UK

*Robert W McCarney, Department of Psychology, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB, UK.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: New search for studies and content updated (no change to conclusions)
  2. Published Online: 20 JAN 2003




  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary


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.

Search methods

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.

Selection criteria

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.

Main results

There were no studies that fulfilled the criteria for inclusion and no data to present.

Authors' conclusions

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

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. 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.