The efficacy of a homoeopathic complex (Kalium bromatum 9CH, Natrum muriaticum 9CH, Selenium 9CH, Sulphur 9CH and Thuja occidentalis 9CH) in the treatment of acne vulgaris
Introduction Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition (disorder of the pilosebaceous duct) which is universal in adolescence. Acne vulgaris can persist into adulthood, with 1% of males and 5% of females requiring treatment until 40 years of age. Aim The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of a homoeopathic complex (Kalium bromatum 9CH, Natrum muriaticum 9CH, Selenium 9CH, Sulphur 9CH and Thuja occidentalis 9CH), compared to placebo, in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Methodology A total of 37 participants between the ages of 18 and 31 were recruited from the Greater Durban area by means of poster advertisements placed on notice boards in shops, pharmacies, health shops, hospitals, schools, tertiary institutions including Durban University of Technology, and other public areas. Handouts were also left at these areas for people to take home. The final sample consisted of 34 participants due to the drop out of 3 participants. After participants read an information letter (English or Zulu), fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the research, were diagnosed as having acne vulgaris by the researcher and completed an informed consent form (English or Zulu) and confidential patient information form (English or Zulu), they were randomly assigned to an experimental (homoeopathic complex) group and a control (placebo) group. In the final sample, the experimental (homoeopathic complex) group consisted of 7 males and 10 females, and the control (placebo) group consisted of 9 males and 8 females. Consultations took place at the Durban University of Technology Homoeopathic Day Clinic, and consisted of 3 consultations, an initial consultation followed by 2 follow-up consultations at 3 weekly intervals. The treatment period for each participant was therefore 6 weeks. A case history was taken and a complete physical examination was performed for all participants. The Leeds counting technique was used to assess and measure the response to treatment. The lesions assessed were the non-inflamed lesions (blackheads and whiteheads), inflamed lesions (papules, pustules, nodules, cysts and deep pustules) and the total number of acne lesions (number of non-inflamed and inflamed lesions combined). The response to treatment was measured in terms of a reduction in the number of non-inflamed, number of inflamed and total number of acne lesions, on the face, over the 6 weeks. SPSS version 20 was used to analyse the data. A p value of < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Non-parametric tests were used to analyse the data. The number of non-inflamed, number of inflamed and total number of acne lesions were compared within groups using the Friedman test and between groups using the Mann-Whitney U test. The number of lesions was compared separately for males and females, and also without gender classification. Results In females, the control (placebo) group showed a statistically significant reduction in the total number of acne lesions when compared to the experimental group (p = 0.034). However, as a whole, it was concluded from the results of this study that there was no significant difference in the number of non-inflamed (p = 0.193), number of inflamed (p = 0.290), and total number of acne lesions (p = 0.193) between the experimental (homoeopathic complex) and control (placebo) groups. Both groups showed a similar reduction when compared to each other. Conclusion It was concluded that the homoeopathic complex was not effective in the treatment of acne vulgaris.