Widespread use of homeopathy for children in Germany
A new study published in ‘Pharmacoepidemiology and drug safety’ shows that homeopathic medicines and herbal medicines, are commonly given by parents in Germany to their children. The study’s aim was to estimate the use and cost of conventional, homeopathic and herbal medicines. Data from 3,642 children showed 24% of drugs prescribed for children in Germany are homeopathic medicines! 11.5% were herbs. Medicines prescribed by doctors were dominated by conventional medicine (76.5%), whereas in non-prescribed drugs, both homeopathy and conventional medicine accounted for 37% each. Boys used less homeopathy than girls. Parents income showed only a weak influence. Having a higher education had a strong effect on the use of herbal medicine such that children of mothers with higher school education used more herbs.
This study was just published in July 2012, in a leading international pharmaceutical journal. Apparently homeopathic and herbal medicines are reimbursed by the government, when they are prescribed by doctors to children younger than 12 years of age.
Widespread use of homeopathy in Germany for children’s cancer treatment
A previous study in 2011, “Use of homeopathy in pediatric oncology in Germany” compared homeopathy use and other forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in children with cancer. A very large 45.2% of CAM use was homeopathy. Homeopathy is the most frequently used CAM treatment in children’s cancer treatment in Germany. Most families who had used homeopathy before their child was diagnosed with cancer also used homeopathy for the treatment of their child’s cancer. The survey which was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine was not about the effectiveness of the treatment but compared to other CAM treatments, patient satisfaction with homeopathy appears to be very high.
A possible reason for the high degree of satisfaction of Homeopathy users could be the fact that homeopaths devote more time and attention to their patients. A homeopathic interview can take as long as 1-2 hours. In a qualitative comparative study of homeopaths and conventional doctors it was found that the parents experienced the treatment by a homeopath as more holistically oriented compared with the symptom-based approach of a conventional doctor.