Depression is twice as likely to occur in women than in men, and female hormonal fluctuations seem to be a contributing factor. Women going through menopaus are especially at risk for depression. Given the risks and potential side effects of hormonal replacement therapy, many women with hormonally-influenced depression are looking for natural and nontoxic treatments. Homeopathy has been used to treat depression in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women in for decades. A study published in journal PLoS One documented the efficacy and safety of individualized homeopathic treatment vs placebo or fluoxetine (Prozac) in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with moderate to severe depression. The research team conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, double-dummy trial with 133 women and a 6-week follow-up at a public research hospital in Mexico City. The participants had been diagnosed with moderate-to-severe depression according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, and were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: (1) individualized homeopathic treatment (IHT) plus fluoxetine dummy-loaded; (2) fluoxetine (20 mg/d) plus IHT dummy-loaded; or (3) fluoxetine placebo plus IHT placebo. The IHTs were formulated by a homeopathic doctor with 18 years of experience. The outcomes measures were changes in the mean total score among groups on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Greene Climateric Scale. After 6 weeks of treatment, the homeopathy group demonstrated improvement with higher scores on the HRSD compared to the placebo group. The homeopathy group also improved their Greene scores by 8.6 points while fluoxetine was no different from placebo on this scale. There were no differences among groups in BDI score. In sum, homeopathy improved women’s menopausal symptoms scored by the Greene Climacteric Scale and depression scores on 1 of 2 scales. Randomized controlled trials are the next logical step in studying the efficacy of homeopathy in this specialized cohort.

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References Macías-Cortés Edel C, Llanes-González L, Aguilar-Faisal L, Asbun-Bojalil J. Individualized homeopathic treatment and fluoxetine for moderate to severe depression in peri- and postmenopausal women (HOMDEP-MENOP study): a randomized, double-dummy, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0118440.

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