The number of children put on drugs for attention problems is staggering, and school authorities pressure parents to use dangerous stimulant medications and antidepressants to keep children behaving in specific desirable patterns in the classroom. The approach of holistic pediatrics offers an effective management system for attention problems (so-called ADD and ADHD). An important component of this system includes the prescription of constitutional homeopathic medicines according the principles of classical homeopathy.
Clinical Study Design
Now a carefully controlled clinical trial has shown that homeopathy does significantly improve attention. This study was published in the July 27, 2005 online edition of the European Journal of Pediatrics. The study, conducted in Switzerland, followed 62 children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). All children were carefully diagnosed with a number of screening instruments to verify the diagnosis of ADHD, excluding other diagnoses. The study involved three phases. First the children were treated with a constitutional homeopathic medicine individualized to their case. Only the children who improved by at least 50 percent on an ADHD rating scale were included in the second phase of the study, a crossover trial with a placebo group. Following that crossover phase, the children were then treated again with their homeopathic medicine in an open label phase.
The primary device for measuring improvement was the Conners Global Index (CGI), a 10-item rating scale containing the most important ADHD symptoms (temper outbursts, excitability, impulsivity, overactivity, crying often, inattentive, fidgeting, disturbing other children, easily frustrated, failure to finish things, quickly changing moods). Rating: 0= never, 1= occasionally, 2= often, 3= very often. Therefore the higher the score the more prominent and severe the symptoms. Other assessment instruments included standardized achievement and intelligence tests.
The medicines used included Calc-carb (15), Sulphur (8), Chamomilla (5), Lycopodium (5), Silica (5), Hepar-sulph (4), Nux-vom (4), China (3), Ignatia (3), and Mercurius (3). Each of the following were used in one case only: Capsicum, Causticum, Hyoscyamus, Phosphorus, Phosphoric-acid, Sepia, and Staphysagria. Each was used on a daily bases in the Q3 to Q42 potency (LM). No other treatment of any kind was permitted during the course of the study.
The progress under homeopathic treatment was assessed with the parents only at intervals of 4 weeks. After an unlimited period of observation, children eligible for the crossover phase of the trial were randomly assigned to either receive the appropriate homeopathic medicine or a placebo in a blinded trial. During the second period of the crossover phase, the groups were switched. Following the crossover phase, the children were then treated with their homeopathic medicine in an open label phase of the trial.
Results showed that children did not improve while taking placebo, but continued to improve while taking the homeopathic medicine during the blinded phase of the trial and in the post-crossover phase. The median Conners rating for ADHD symptoms dropped from 19 at the start of treatment to a median of 8 within 6 weeks after the crossover phase of the trial. During the blinded trial the children receiving placebo had a high CGI rating of 12 compared to the homeopathic group with a rating of 9. After all children were returned to their homeopathic medicine, both groups returned to the low symptom level they had achieved before the crossover phase (median of 8).
The authors formed a definitive conclusion from this study. “The results of this trial point to the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of ADHD.”
HPA Attention Seminar
The Holistic Pediatric Association will be teaching a seminar on the Holistic Treatment of Attention and Autistic Spectrum Disorders on January 28, 2006. Practitioners can see details and register for this and all other HPA seminars at the website www.hpakids.org .