The efficacy of homoeopathic simillimum in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in schoolgoing children aged 6-11 years
INTRODUCTION The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of homoeopathic simillimum in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in schoolgoing children aged 6-11 years. AD/HD affects approximately 3-5% of children worldwide. It is thus a highly prevalent childhood disorder characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity and restlessness. There are 3 subtypes of the condition, namely combined type, predominantly inattentive type and predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type (DSM-IV-TR, 2000 pg 90). OBJECTIVE The objective of the study was to determine the efficacy of homoeopathic simillimum in the treatment of this disorder, and thus promote homoeopathy as a safe alternative to conventional AD/HD treatments. METHODOLOGY The study was conducted as a double-blind placebo-controlled study. The sample group consisted of 30 participants. There was an experimental group of 16, which was compared to a placebo control group of 14. Participants were recruited from the greater Durban area. They had to satisfy clear inclusion and exclusion criteria. Participants and parents/guardians were required to attend 3 consultations with the researcher at The Homoeopathic Day Clinic over a 2-month period. The ADHD Rating Scale-IV Home and School Versions (Appendices B and C) had to be completed by the participant’s parent/guardian and teacher respectively. One was filled in at the initial consultation to serve as a baseline reading, and thereafter, every month. Remedies were dispensed at the first 2 consultations and these remedies were decided upon after thorough case-taking, use of Radar 9.0 Homoeopathic Software and discussion with 1 of 2 selected clinicians. Those on placebo were given free treatment at the end of the study. RESULTS Statistical analysis was conducted on the ADHD Rating Scales-IV Home and School Versions (Appendices B and C), completed by the parent/guardian and teacher respectively. Improvement was based on a decrease in the rating scale score. On analysis, the results (Table 4.8, 4.9 and 4.10) showed no statistically significant effect of treatment (i.e. no difference between treatment and placebo group), but across the whole trial and within each group (particularly the treatment group) subjects had significant reductions in symptoms (i.e. the reductions in symptoms were large enough that there was less than 5% chance that they were random fluctuations/effects). This was seen in both the treatment and placebo groups, as indicated by Table 4.11, 4.12 and 4.13, but more significant reductions were seen in the treatment group, indicated by Table 4.14. As discussed in Chapter 5, this by no means rules out the efficacy of homoeopathic simillimum for the treatment of AD/HD. CONCLUSIONS A large number of parents, teachers and doctors are seeking a safe, effective way to treat this highly prevalent disorder (Soreff & Chang, 2008) and, although the study did not satisfy the hypothesis that homoeopathic simillimum is an effective treatment for AD/HD in schoolgoing children, it did aid in creating awareness of the use of homoeopathy as a treatment option for this condition and highlighted the need for more extensive research to be undertaken for this treatment option. It is the researcher’s opinion that larger, longer duration studies, employing quantitative analysis, as well as qualitative analysis would yield more significant results.