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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 520182, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep114
Original Article

Homeopathic Individualized Q-Potencies versus Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression: Double-Blind, Randomized Non-Inferiority Trial

Faculdade de Medicina de Jundiaí, Homeopathy Graduation Programme, Department of Psychobiology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, R. Napoleão de Barros, 925 São Paulo, SP 04024-002, Brazil

Received 7 March 2009; Accepted 17 July 2009

Copyright © 2011 U. C. Adler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Homeopathy is a complementary and integrative medicine used in depression, The aim of this study is to investigate the non-inferiority and tolerability of individualized homeopathic medicines [Quinquagintamillesmial (Q-potencies)] in acute depression, using fluoxetine as active control. Ninety-one outpatients with moderate to severe depression were assigned to receive an individualized homeopathic medicine or fluoxetine 20 mg day−1 (up to 40 mg day−1) in a prospective, randomized, double-blind double-dummy 8-week, single-center trial. Primary efficacy measure was the analysis of the mean change in the Montgomery & Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) depression scores, using a non-inferiority test with margin of 1.45. Secondary efficacy outcomes were response and remission rates. Tolerability was assessed with the side effect rating scale of the Scandinavian Society of Psychopharmacology. Mean MADRS scores differences were not significant at the 4th (P = .654) and 8th weeks (P = .965) of treatment. Non-inferiority of homeopathy was indicated because the upper limit of the confidence interval (CI) for mean difference in MADRS change was less than the non-inferiority margin: mean differences (homeopathy-fluoxetine) were −3.04 (95% CI −6.95, 0.86) and −2.4 (95% CI −6.05, 0.77) at 4th and 8th week, respectively. There were no significant differences between the percentages of response or remission rates in both groups. Tolerability: there were no significant differences between the side effects rates, although a higher percentage of patients treated with fluoxetine reported troublesome side effects and there was a trend toward greater treatment interruption for adverse effects in the fluoxetine group. This study illustrates the feasibility of randomized controlled double-blind trials of homeopathy in depression and indicates the non-inferiority of individualized homeopathic Q-potencies as compared to fluoxetine in acute treatment of outpatients with moderate to severe depression.