These studies do not prove the effectiveness of homeopathic prophylaxis in epidemics, but many homeopathic practitioners have been convinced by their own experience with this form of disease prevention. The practice of using homeopathic preparations to prevent disease during epidemic exposure may be effective. The medicines cause no adverse effects, and, in the absence of any other form of prevention, there was no reason not to use them. In an epidemic of a serious disease their use is still warranted, though there are valid reasons to allow children to undergo the milder childhood occurrence of measles, mumps and chickenpox to acquire lifelong immunity.
Alternative vaccines in homeopathic form are also available for long-term prevention. Several protocols exist for the administration of homeopathic nosodes or the corresponding remedies for the prevention of whooping cough, meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and other diseases during childhood. There exists significant controversy within the homeopathic profession about the appropriateness of using these preparations for long-term prevention. This controversy involves the areas of effectiveness, safety, and ethics.
No long-term studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of this form of prevention. There is no reason to assume that these vaccines continue to act preventively years after administration, unless immunity is shown through an objective test or clinical studies.
Homeopathic preparations have not been shown to raise antibody levels. Smits tested the titre of antibodies to diphtheria, polio and tetanus in ten children before and one month after giving homeopathic preparations of these three vaccines (DTPol 30K and 200K). He found no rise in antibody levels (Smits, 1995). He speculates that protection afforded by a homeopathic remedy acts on a "deeper" level than that of antibodies. Other homeopaths have stated similar opinions. Golden says, "unlike conventional vaccines, the Homoeopathic alternative does not rely on antibody formation." He postulates that "Homoeopathic remedies reduce the patient’s sensitivity to the dynamic stimulus of the virus or bacteria, thus lessening the patient’s predisposition to being overcome by this stimulus" (Golden, 1994).
If homeopathic remedies do not produce an increase in antibody levels, then the only way to measure the effectiveness of homeopathic prophylaxis is through clinical results. This is a formidable undertaking. The cost of long-term studies using homeopathic prophylaxis would be prohibitive, given the present resources available. Ethical problems could also prevent such studies from occurring; it is doubtful that ethics committees would allow children to be deprived of the commonly administered and approved allopathic vaccines. Moskowitz has suggested that the sizable population of unvaccinated children whose parents have refused vaccines, could provide a control group to assess the long-term negative effects of vaccines (Moskowitz, 1985). Perhaps this population could also serve as a test group for homeopathic prophylaxis.
Parents need to understand that there is no evidence to support the use of these homeopathic preparations for long-term prevention. There is nothing in the literature that shows homeopathic prophylaxis provides lasting immunity from specific diseases