Tim Brunson DCH

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The use of simplified constitutional indications for self-prescription of homeopathic medicine

OBJECTIVES: To develop simplified constitutional indications for homeopathic medicines so that parents of children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) could choose homeopathic medicines for their children more "accurately", and to subsequently evaluate if these choices match the prescriptions of trained homeopaths. DESIGN AND SETTING: To initially select the most commonly used homeopathic medicines for URTI, data from a survey of 1097 patients visiting 80 different Norwegian homeopaths were used. A simplified constitutional indication was then developed for the three homeopathic medicines most frequently prescribed for recurrent URTI and otitis media. The constitutional indications were developed by a group of five homeopaths and were then sent to 20 homeopaths for further evaluation. To evaluate the parents' choice of homeopathic medicines compared to the prescription by trained homeopaths, a group of 11 randomly selected homeopaths were asked to participate. They recruited parents of 70 child patients. RESULT: By using simplified constitutional indications for the three most commonly prescribed remedies, Calcarea carb, Pulsatilla and Sulphur, parents were able to choose the same homeopathic medicine as homeopaths' prescribed for 55% (95% CI 43-67) of children with URTI. There was excellent agreement between parents' choice and homeopaths' prescription for the three medicines (Kappa of 0.77, p<0.001). CONCLUSION: Simplified constitutional indications can be used to improve the quality of the choice of homeopathic medicines purchased over the counter (OTC) for self-treatment.

Complement Ther Med. 2004 Jun-Sep;12(2-3):112-7. Steinsbekk A, Bentzen N, Fønnebø V, Lewith G. Department of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), MTFS, N-7489 Trondheim, Norway. aslak.steinsbekk@medisin.ntnu.no

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