Effects of homeopathic treatment on pruritus of haemodialysis patients: a randomised placebo-controlled double-blind trial.
Homeopathy. 2003 Oct ;92(4):177-81. PMID: 14587682
A M S Cavalcanti
Pruritus is a frequent and difficult to treat problem in haemodialysis. This double-blind placebo-controlled randomised clinical trial assessed the role of homeopathic treatment in this situation. The code was held by the pharmacist who dispensed the medications. Pruritus was evaluated using a previously published scale. Only patients with initial values above 25% of maximum pruritus score were entered. Data were analysed after partial code break, separating the two groups of patients, but with no awareness of which one received verum or placebo. Patients were classified as responders if they had>50% reduction of pruritus score. Twenty-eight patients (16M/12F, 51 +/- 11 years of age) were entered and 20 (12M/8F, 52 +/- 8 years of age) remained for final analysis: 11 in the verum group, 9 in placebo. At entry, the mean pruritus score was 65 +/- 25% for the treated patients and 70 +/- 27% for placebo. After 15, 30, 45, and 60 days of follow-up, pruritus score were respectively: 46 +/- 29, 41 +/- 30, 42 +/- 29, and 38 +/- 33 for the treated patients and 61 +/- 29, 67 +/- 31, 64 +/- 35, and 57 +/- 39 for placebo. Reduction was statistically significant (P<0.05) at every point of observation. According to the patients' own assessment, at the end of the study period, the homeopathic treatment reduced the pruritus score by approximately 49%. Responders were more frequent in the treated group with statistical significance at 30 days (0% vs 45%, P=0.038). Homeopathic treatment may represent a worthwhile alternative to relieve pruritus in patients undergoing haemodialysis.