Early Day Motion 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia

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Early Day Motion 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia was an Early Day Motion proposed by David Tredinnick on 21st June 2010. It was one of four Early Day Motions supporting homeopathy proposed by Tredinnick at the same time, the others being EDM 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy, EDM 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells, and EDM 286: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression.

The motion stated:

"That this House welcomes the randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled study at Durban University of Technology, South Africa, which evaluated the efficacy of homeopathic simillimum in the treatment of chronic primary insomnia; notes that the measurement tools used were a sleep diary (SD) and a sleep impairment index (SII); further notes that the SD data revealed that verum treatment resulted in a significant increase in duration of sleep throughout the study and a significant improvement in SII scores, compared to the placebo treatment which resulted in no significant increase in the duration of sleep; observes that an initial improvement occurred in the placebo group but this was not sustained and that a comparison between the results revealed a statistically significant difference; believes that homeopathic simillimum treatment of primary insomnia is effective compared with placebo in this study; and calls for further research in this area."

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Background

The study mentioned in the motion was Naudé et al, Chronic primary insomnia: Efficacy of homeopathic simillimum, Homeopathy (2010) 99, 63–68 (see also erratum). A PDF is available online.

Following the proposal of the EDM, the paper has been discussed on the blog of Dianthus Medical, and by Sean Ellis on his Mote Prime blog.

Amendment

An extensively amended motion, EDM 287A1, was proposed by Julian Huppert. The amended motion stated:

"That this House notes the study conducted at Durban University of Technology, South Africa, by Naude et al, published in Homeopathy (2010) 99 63-68, which claimed that homeopathic treatment of primary insomnia was significantly more effective compared with placebo; further notes that only 33 patients were enrolled, which makes any conclusion statistically questionable, especially given the randomisation did not take account of the distribution of any clinically relevant variables between the resulting two groups, for example any age differences; further notes that there was not full blinding with respect to the dispenser of the treatment; recognises the dangers, inherent with publication bias, in selectively citing isolated small studies of dubious significance in the absence of any demonstration that infinitely diluted and vigorously shaken solutions have a rational and effective method of action; and supports the findings of the Fourth Report from the Science and Technology Select Committee of Session 2009-10, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, HC45, namely that there are ethical problems in prescribing patients placebos without full candour, that the evidence base is clearly that homeopathy is not effective beyond placebo and so scarce NHS funds should not be spent commissioning it at a time when, due to cost, the health service is not even able to provide its patients with treatments that have been clearly shown to be effective, and that putting patients through pointless further clinical trials and the spending of scarce public sector funds on research into homeopathy cannot be justified."

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List of signatories

The original motion was signed by 16 MPs:

It was also signed by Jessica Lee, however she later withdrew her signature.

Amendment

The amended motion 287A1 was signed by 8 MPs: