In a recently published letter in the journal “Sleep Medicine Reviews” Cooper and Relton (3) specifically refer to the Naudé publication. The two authors previously published the results of a systematic review of homeopathy for insomnia, where the Naudé publication had not been included (4).
In their systematic review Cooper and Relton had found four double-blind randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing homeopathic medicines (or rather potentized remedies) versus placebo. All four previous studies had used pre-specified remedies (NOT individualized to each individual patient). Cooper and Relton point out that patients in the Naudé trial were prescribed individualized remedies according to their symptom picture. The total number of hours slept per week increased from 35 to 41 in the homeopathy group (p=0.002) from baseline (start of the trial) to week 4, compared to an increase from 34 to 35 hours in the placebo group (not statistically significant change). Homeopathy was therefore better than placebo at 4 weeks (p=0.036). Moreover, patients in the homeopathy group improved according to all 11 out of 11 questions that were asked about their sleep, whereas patients receiving placebo had an initial improvement, but then relapsed.
Cooper and Relton point out that the number of participants was not high in any of the studies they have reviewed (n=26-61), but the methodological quality was higher in the Naudé study compared to the four previous trials. Results are promising and more research of equally high methodological and homeopathic quality should be carried out, with larger patient numbers.
1. European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH). Sleep well with homeopathy. March 2010.
2. Naudé DF, Couchman IMS, Maharaj A. Chronic primary insomnia: Efficacy of homeopathic simillimum. Homeopathy 2010, 99: 63-68.
3. Cooper KL, Relton C. Homeopathy for insomnia: Summary of additional RCT publiched since systematic review. Sleep Med Rev, 2010 Sep 2 [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20819153.
4. Cooper KL, Relton C. Homeopathy for insomnia: a systematic review of research evidence. Sleep Med Rev, 2010. 23 August 2010