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Managing Influenza-Like Viral Syndromes

More than 200 organisms are known to cause infections of the upper respiratory tract, although the precise mechanism of transmission has yet to be determined. These viral infections usually resolve within 5-10 days but can still cause sufficient influenza-like symptoms (headache, muscle pain, fever, cough, etc.) to impair patients' functional status and well being.

Two studies with nearly identical parameters and outcome measures evaluated the potential effectiveness of a homeopathic preparation (Anas Barbriae Hepatis and Cordis Extractum HPUS 200K) vs. placebo. The more recent study (Papp et al., 1998) included 372 patients who had presented in the previous 24 hours with muscle pain, headache, and at least one of the following symptoms: shivering, thoracic or periarticular pain, spinal pain, cough, irritation of nasal mucosa, or general feeling of illness.

Patients received either the homeopathic remedy or a placebo (a lactose/saccharose combination) for 10 days and recorded temperature, symptoms, and use of medication. Clinicians gathered data at baseline, after 48 hours, and after 7-10 days of treatment.

Results: 17.4% of patients in the homeopathic group showed no symptoms after day two of treatment, compared with only 6.6.% in the placebo group; this distinction was still noticeable after day five of treatment (73.7% of homeopathic patients, 67.7% of placebo patients).

These findings compare favorably to the second study, (Ferley et al., 1989) which also evaluated the effectiveness of Anas Barbriae in managing influenza-type syndromes in a similar population (237-patient test group, 241-patient placebo group). In this earlier study, 17.1% of the homeopathic group recovered within 48 hours compared with only 10.3% of the placebo group.

The authors do not know why the homeopathic preparations were more effective, but call for further research to be conducted.

Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al. Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. British Homeopathic Journal, April 1998:87, pp69-76.
Reprints: Tel: +44 (0) 1256 329242; Fax: +44 (0) 1256 810526; E-Mail: w.moss@stockton-press.co.uk

Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D'Adhemar D, et al. A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1989:27, pp329-335.

 



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