Homeopathy for insomnia: A systematic review of research evidence

  • Cooper K
  • Relton C
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Abstract

Background: Insomnia is a common problem which impacts on quality of life. Current management includes psychological and behavioural therapies and/or pharmacological treatments. Objective: To systematically review research evidence for effectiveness of homeopathy in the management of insomnia. Methods: Comprehensive searches of biomedical databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane library, Science Citation Index), homeopathy-specific and complementary medicine-specific databases were conducted. Results: (A) Homeopathic medicines: four randomised controlled trials (RCTs) compared homeopathic medicines to placebo. All involved small patient numbers and were of low methodological quality. None demonstrated a statistically significant difference in outcomes between groups, although two showed a trend favouring homeopathic medicines and three demonstrated significant improvements from baseline in both groups. A cohort study reported significant improvements from baseline.(B) Treatment by a homeopath: No randomised controlled trials of treatment by a homeopath were identified. One cohort study, three case series and over 2600 case studies were identified. Conclusions: The limited evidence available does not demonstrate a statistically significant effect of homeopathic medicines for insomnia treatment. Existing RCTs were of poor quality and were likely to have been underpowered. Well-conducted studies of homeopathic medicines and treatment by a homeopath are required to examine the clinical and cost effectiveness of homeopathy for insomnia. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

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Authors

  • K.L. Cooper

  • C. Relton

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