In a nutshell
This study wanted to determine if a homeopathic treatment for hot flushes would improve the quality of life of patients undergoing hormonal therapy for breast cancer. The study concluded that after four weeks, there was a modest improvement in the quality of life of these patients.
Hormonal therapy for breast cancer involves targeting two hormone receptors (molecules) on the tumor. These receptors are present in 75% of breast cancers. Hot flushes are a common side effect of hormonal therapy. Currently, there are no effective medications for the treatment of hot flushes. There is growing interest in alternative medicine practices for the treatment of these side effects from hormonal therapy.
Homeopathy is an alternative medicine that functions on the idea that a disease can be cured by a very small dose of a substance that causes similar symptoms in healthy persons. Homeopathic medicines are commonly used for reduces menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. There is a lot of debate in the scientific community as to whether homeopathy works.
Methods & findings
This study included 138 patients that have been treated for breast cancer. All patients received hormonal therapy. During this study, 65 patients received treatment with Actheane, a homeopathic medicine which is marketed to help menopausal symptoms. The other 73 patients received placebo pills. Treatment duration was 4 weeks. Patients reported their hot flush intensity and frequency before they took the medication, during, and after.
After 4 weeks, the intensity and frequency of hot flushes reported by the patients decreased by 17% in the treatment group. The placebo group also reported 15% less hot flushes. 75% of patients in the treatment group and 68% of the placebo group reported reduced hot flushes. There was a similar improvement in the quality of life of both groups of patients.
The bottom line
The study concluded that this homeopathic medicine led to a modest reduction in hot flushes for patients with breast cancer treated with hormonal therapy.
The fine print
The results of this study were not statistically significant. This study included a very small number of patients and had a very short duration. Boiron Laboratories, the manufacturers of Actheane, funded this study.
Talk to your doctor before considering any homeopathic medicines for breast cancer treatment-related side effects.
Published By :
Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Sep 07, 2018
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