Homeopathic and conventional treatment for chronic diseases (model project IKK Hamburg) - a comparative trial

Homeopathic and conventional treatment for chronic diseases (model project IKK Hamburg) - a comparative trial


This is a prospective multicentre cohort study comparing the effectiveness of homeopathic therapy with that of conventional medical care in the treatment of chronic illness.
Patients were recruited by two separate groups of physicians (homeopathic and conventional). Adult patients were included in the study if they were diagnosed with low-back pain, headaches, sleep disorders, depression, or sinusitis. Children included in the study had been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, asthma, or neurodermatitis.
Both treatment groups were followed up for a period of 12 months using standardised questionnaires at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. The severity of symptoms was rated on a numerical rating scale (0-10) by both patients and physicians. In addition, sociodemographic data, quality of life (SF-36, KINDL, KITA), and health economic data were collected. The resulting data were analysed using general linear repeated measurement models.
In total, 493 patients were included in the study: 315 adults (45±13 years, 78% women) and 178 children (6.8±4 years, 60% girls). Children who received homeopathic treatment showed significant improvements over the conventional treatment group according to both physician evaluation and patient self-assessment (homeopathy/conventional at 0/12 months; h: 5.0/2.6; c:4.4./3.2; p<0.01). The adults in the homeopathy group also showed significant improvements over the comparison group according to self-assessment (h:5.6/3.2; c:5.9/4.4; p<0.01). However, physician evaluations showed no difference between the two groups (h: 5.8/2.6; c: 6.2/3.4; p=n.s.). In addition, there were no differences in total costs of treatment between any of the treatment groups.


This study is observational does not provide evidence on homeopathy drugs.


Keil T, Witt C, Roll S, Vance W, Weber K, Wegscheider K, Willich S. Homoeopathic versus conventional treatment of children with eczema: a comparative cohort study. Complement Ther Med, 2008. 16(1):15-21.

Witt C, Keil T, Selim S, Roll S, Vance W, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Outcome and costs of homeopathic and conventional treatment strategies: A comparative cohort study in patients with chronic disorders. Compl Ther in Med 2005;13:79-86.

Principle investigator:
Willich, MD, MPH, MBA
Witt; MD, MBA

Research associate:
Keil, MD, MSc
Vance, MD

Wegscheider, PhD
Roll, PhD

Data management:

Project duration:

Project status:

IKK Hamburg (statutory health insurance)