The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Testing Nervoheel N to treat mild nervous disorders

    Nervoheel N is a homeopathic preparation used to treat psychosomatic disorders, climacteric neurosis, and emotional distress

    In this study, it’s reported to be as effective as lorazepam (Ativan).

    First, the details.

    • 248 patients with insomnia, distress, anxieties, restlessness or burnout and similar nervous conditions (?mild nervous disorders?) were treated with Nervoheel N or lorazepam at recommended doses for up to 4 weeks.
    • Dose variations were allowed if in the patient’s best interest.
    • Treatment effects were evaluated by the practitioner in dialogue with the patient at the start of treatment, after 2 weeks and after maximally 4 weeks.
    • There was no attempt to randomly assign patients to treatment or conceal the treatment given.

    And, the results.

    • Both treatment groups reported significant symptomatic improvements.
    • Differences between the groups were not significant.
    • Both treatments were well tolerated, with few adverse events and good self-assessed tolerability.

    The bottom line?
    The authors conclude, “In patients who opt for a homeopathic treatment regimen for the short-term relief of mild nervous disorders, the effects of Nervoheel N are non-inferior to those of lorazepam.”

    But wait.

    Ativan is FDA-approved only for the management of anxiety or anxiety associated with depressive symptoms. It is not approved to treat insomnia, distress, restlessness, or burnout and similar “nervous conditions.”

    Was this a fair comparison?

    The study is open to additional criticism.

    • Broad, poorly defined conditions were treated.
    • Lack or random assignment of treatment
    • No blinding of the patients or doctors to the treatment
    • Lack of independent assessment of outcomes.

    Except for the last criticism, this study could have been better for little if any increase in cost.

    11/23/07 20:23 JR

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