Symptomatic COVID-19 positive and likely patients treated by homeopathic physicians – an Italian descriptive study
SUMMARY (by Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH)
A group of 24 Italian medical doctors with an additional specialization in homeopathic medicines treated 50 patients with diagnosed or highly probable cases of COVID-19. Patients were prescribed a single individually selected homeopathic medicine based on each patient’s unique syndrome of symptoms, as per the homeopathic methodology. A review of 26 countries hospitalization rates for patients with COVID-19 is 32%. In Italy, the hospitalization rate is 20.4%, and the rate of patients in intensive care units is 18.7%. A listing of each homeopathic medicine prescribed is listed in this report. This study of 50 patients treated with homeopathic medicines found that their hospitalization rate was zero.
Below are excerpts from this report. Here is a link to the full report.
On the initiative of SIMO – Italian Society of Homeopathic Medicine (www.omeomed.net), a working group of homeopathic physicians and independent researchers began in January 2020 to collect documentation to prepare for the prevention and treatment of patients with COVID-19, which was immediately considered a very serious threat to public health.
The level of hospitalization is one of the key factors in assessing the ability of the health care system to respond to the epidemic. The recent ECDC report states: “Hospitalization occurred in 32% (48 755 of 152 375) of cases reported from 26 countries”(9)
In Italy, the bulletin on the Covid-19 epidemic of March 30, 2020 produced by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità writes: “Information on the place of treatment is available for 88,257 cases (about 70.8% of total cases). Currently 18,047 cases (20.4%) are hospitalized and of these 2,734 (18.7%) are hospitalized in intensive care”.(10)
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the level of hospitalization of Covid-19 patients treated by doctors with additional expertise in homeopathy.
From 25 February to 7 April 2020 we collected 50 symptomatic case reports in home isolation, positive or probable COVID-19, followed by the family doctor and, since the patients requested it, also by a physician expert in homeopathy. The patients were in isolation in different Italian locations.
The classification to which this study adheres is the 16sixth WHO classification which is the basis of the classifications of the various Ministries of Health. It divides patients, compared to the diagnosis of COVID-19, into “suspected”, “probable” and “confirmed” cases. Confirmed cases are those found positive to the nucleic acid enlargement method, usually by pharyngeal buffer. Since in the Italian epidemic emergency it is not possible to perform swabs in all suspected cases – and this leads to diagnostic uncertainties -, in order to try to increase diagnostic accuracy we have chosen to qualitatively implement the WHO guidelines with clinical and anamnestic parameters (see below).
The clinical records we considered includes 10 confirmed symptomatic patients for COVID-19 and 40 probable symptomatic patients semasiologically similar to the previous ones.
A total of 24 homeopaths were involved. They are clinicians with extensive experience in homeopathy and are all registered in the lists of homeopathic medical experts with the respective Orders of Physicians and Surgeons. Each doctor involved in the project was required to send all consecutive cases under treatment, whatever the outcome of the treatment implemented.
We publish the results of the 50 individual cases received corresponding to the inclusion criteria, evaluated at the end of the treatment without waiting for a further follow-up.
The 50 cases examined consisted of 29 females and 20 males (in one case the gender was not specified).
In the 4 pediatric cases (years 6-9), the average age was 6.75 years; their course lasted on average10 days (from 3 to 17).
In adulthood (the cases observed were between 22 and 79 years old), the average age was 49.47 years; their course (varying from 4 to 34 days) was 14.09 days on average
In each individual case only one single-component homeopathic medicinal product has been diagnosed and prescribed at a time with only one potency, chosen individually according to the symptoms presented.
During the same homeopathic treatment a single medicine (50% of cases) was used, i.e. a sequence of 2 to 6 different medicines and specifically: 2 remedies (32%), 3 remedies (10%), 6 remedies (4%), 4 remedies (2%), 5 remedies (2%).
The prescribed medications were, in order of frequency: Bryonia alba (21 times); Arsenicum Album(16 times); Phosphorus flavus(9 times); Atropa belladonna (6 times); Antimonium tartaricum (6 times); Eupatorium perfoliatum (4 times); Phosphoricum acidum (3 times); unspecified patient’s basic remedy (3 times); Lycopodium clavatum(3 times); Sulphur (3 times); Hepar sulphur. (2 times); Kalium phosphoricum (2 times); Gelsemium sempervirens(2 times); Mercurius solubilis, Chelidomum majus, Spigelia anthelmia, Solanum dulcamara, Psorinum, Spongia tosta, Ferrum phosphoricum, Ruta graveolens, Causticum hahnemanni, Thuya occidentalis, Streptococcinum, Ignatia amara (once each).
No adverse events were observed during homeopathic treatments. An overall recovery of patients at resolution of specific symptoms has been commonly observed.
All patients were symptomatic and classified as COVID positive or highly probable; they were all treated homeopathically in extra-hospital home isolation regimen. Under no circumstances, given the favorable clinical trend, was hospitalization necessary.
The hospitalization rate in this group of 50 patients treated homeopathically for COVID-19 was 0.
DISCUSSION AND PERSPECTIVES
A much larger sample of homeopathically treated patients is required to begin assessing the effect of homeopathic treatment; a control group must also be set up.
It will also be important to have a long-term follow-up (indicatively 2 months) to verify the clinical course, as COVID-19 disease may present recurrences, beyond the well-known apparent critical remissions.
However, in the opinion of the authors, this study has provided interesting information and opened up prospects for study. The COVID-19 disease is extremely complex, so it is essential to combine the contributions of different medicines to increase clinical results, as is beginning to be demonstrated by the integration of allopathic medicine with traditional Chinese medicine: “Treatment practice of COVID-19 showed that early intervention of TCM is important way to improve cure rate, shorten the course of disease, delay disease progression and reduce mortality rate.”(24)
(9) ECDC_Rapid risk assessment: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: increased transmission in the EU/EEA and the UK – eighth update.
(10) Task Force COVID-19 of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Informatics Service, Istituto Superiore di Sanità. COVID-19 Epidemic, National Update: 30 March 2020. https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/bollettino/Bollettino-sorveglianza-integrata-COVID-19_6-aprile-2020.pdf
(24) Ren JL, Zhang AH, Wang XJ. Traditional Chinese medicine for COVID-19 treatment. Pharmacol Res. 2020 Mar 4;155:104743. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.104743. [Epub ahead of print] Erratum in: Pharmacol Res. 2020 Mar 25;:104768. PubMed PMID: 32145402