A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Classical Homeopathy in Generalized Anxiety Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(3):282-287
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Homeopathy is commonly used for the
treatment of medical and psychological conditions. Such prevalent
use, however, is not supported by robust, methodologically sound
research. This study evaluates the effect of homeopathic
treatment in generalized anxiety disorder, a prevalent mental
disorder characterized by an enduring pattern of excessive
apprehension and distress and by mental and bodily complaints.
Method: Forty-four patients with DSM-IV
generalized anxiety disorder participated in a randomized,
double-blind, placebo-controlled 10-week trial of individually
tailored homeopathic remedy. Homeopathic therapy was administered
by an expert who followed the traditional routines of homeopathic
diagnosis and prescription. Thirty-nine subjects completed the
study (20 in the active treatment group and 19 in the placebo
group). Subjects' symptoms were rated before treatment and after
5 and 10 weeks of treatment, with the Hamilton Rating Scale for
Anxiety (HAM-A) as main outcome measure. Additional measures of
outcome included the Brief Symptom Inventory, the Psychological
General Well-Being Index, the Hamilton Rating Scale for
Depression, the Beck Depression Inventory, Spielberger's
State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and a Visual Analogue Scale of
Results: Significant (p < .05) improvement in
most measures, including the HAM-A, was observed in both the
active treatment and placebo groups, yet no group effect was
Conclusion: The effect of homeopathic treatment
on mental symptoms of patients with generalized anxiety disorder
did not differ from that of placebo. The improvement in both
conditions was substantial. Improvement of such magnitude may
account for the current belief in the efficacy of homeopathy and
the current increase in the use of this practice.