Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series
Article first published online: 20 NOV 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
International Journal of Clinical Practice
Volume 66, Issue 12, pages 1178–1188, December 2012
How to Cite
Posadzki, P., Alotaibi, A. and Ernst, E. (2012), Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 66: 1178–1188. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12026
- Issue published online: 20 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 20 NOV 2012
Aim: The aim of this systematic review was to critically evaluate the evidence regarding the adverse effects (AEs) of homeopathy.
Method: Five electronic databases were searched to identify all relevant case reports and case series.
Results: In total, 38 primary reports met our inclusion criteria. Of those, 30 pertained to direct AEs of homeopathic remedies; and eight were related to AEs caused by the substitution of conventional medicine with homeopathy. The total number of patients who experienced AEs of homeopathy amounted to 1159. Overall, AEs ranged from mild-to-severe and included four fatalities. The most common AEs were allergic reactions and intoxications. Rhus toxidendron was the most frequently implicated homeopathic remedy.
Conclusion: Homeopathy has the potential to harm patients and consumers in both direct and indirect ways. Clinicians should be aware of its risks and advise their patients accordingly.