• Homeopathy under scrutiny

    What is homeopathy?

    Homeopathy is a medical philosophy that essentially believes your body is the best weapon to fight disease. Homeopathic medicine is based on the idea that “like cures like,” meaning if something causes a symptom in your body, if you take a diluted form, it will boost your body’s ability to fight it. Typically these remedies include a plant or a mineral in a tiny amount.

    But

    An analysis of hundreds of published studies from the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia found that homeopathic medicine was no more effective than a placebo. There is no evidence that they actually work, the council claimed, and yet it is a multibillion dollar business.

    This led to:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [just finished] a public hearing to obtain information and comments from stakeholders about the current use of human drug and biological products labeled as homeopathic, as well as the Agency’s regulatory framework for such products. These products include prescription drugs and biological products labeled as homeopathic and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs labeled as homeopathic. FDA is seeking participants for the public hearing and written comments from all interested parties, including, but not limited to, consumers, patients, caregivers, health care professionals, patient groups, and industry. FDA is seeking input on a number of specific questions, but is interested in any other pertinent information participants would like to share.

    This is probably because of stuff like this:

    Here’s the thing. I don’t get why there’s such a distinction between “alternative” and “traditional” medicine. I make no such differentiations. To me, there’s only the medicine which we subject to scrutiny and the medicine we don’t. This blog is FULL of posts attacking “traditional” medicine when it fails to work as promised. There are also posts on “alternative” therapies that have been studied, and do work. Those should be used.

    It sometimes feels like people who use “alternative” medicine oppose its study, or don’t care about results. If that’s the case, then – yes – I can’t say I’m all for that. When something fails to show benefits over harms in research, then I tend to frown upon its use. But anything that succeeds on this metric should no longer be considered “alternative” medicine. It’s just medicine.

    @aaronecarroll

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