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Homeopathy taught in a Pharmacology class?!?!

Eeek! I'm in an online Pharmacology class as a prereq for a couple of the nursing programs I'm applying for, and the professor is acting like homeopathy is a valid thing to teach about!! We're going to have material on it every week! This is from the first week:

"Why Study Homeopathy?

In each lesson in this course, you will have a short lecture and activities as appropriate on homeopathic medicine. Why should we discuss homeopathic remedies?

If you are a hands-on caregiver, it will be important during a history gathering to assure you have complete information about all the substances a patient is taking. Widespread use of homeopathic substances means there is an increased risk of potential dangerous interactions between those substances and prescribed medications.

If you are a coder, you often find clues to a patient's conditions frm the prescribed medications. You can also expect these same indications when you see a homeopathic drug listed in the patient's chart. Both situations may lead you to develop a query in order to determine if the condition will be documented and if you are able to assign a code based on the Official Coding Guidelines.

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is a medical philosophy and practice based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Homeopathy was founded in the late 1700s in Germany and has been widely practiced throughout Europe. Homeopathic medicine views symptoms of illness as normal responses of the body as it attempts to regain health.

Homeopathy is based on the idea that "like cures like." That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness. In theory, a homeopathic dose enhances the body's normal healing and self-regulatory processes.

A homeopathic health practitioner (homeopath) uses pills or liquid mixtures (solutions) containing only a little of an active ingredient (usually a plant or mineral) for treatment of disease. These are known as highly diluted or "potentiated" substances. There is some evidence to show that homeopathic medicines may have helpful effects.

What is homeopathy used for?

Historically, people have used homeopathy to maintain health and treat a wide range of long-term illnesses, such as allergies, atopic dermatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. They have also used it to treat minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes and muscle strains or sprains. Homeopathic treatment is not considered appropriate for illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, major infections, or emergencies.

Homeopathy has been widely used in India, England, and other European countries.

Is homeopathy safe?

Homeopathic remedies have been regulated in the United States since 1938 and are considered to be safe.

Some critics of homeopathy believe that there is so little active substance in a solution that any benefits from treatment are likely not because of the substance but because you are thinking it is effective (placebo effect)."

It is absolutely terrifying to me that I will be trying to learn anything from this person. Would you be concerned?

Why are you "terrified?" Terrifying to me is giant dinosaur with rockets mounted on his back trying to eat me. Let's not make it sound like your life is done. Homeopathic medicine is completely valid in terms of study and as a nurse, awareness. The first paragraph is on point. As a nurse you will be assessing patient history and meds /supplements taken at home, which may be cultural or not and can affect your care. You WILL be tested to a some extent in nursing pharmacology medication interactions/contraindications. Whether you believe in it doesn't matter, but many of your patients will. As a nurse you're going to have recognize that this, among a billion of other things you may not personally care for, but it is necessary to consider in a patients plan of care.

Or you can drop it, no big deal. There are more narrow minded topics out there.

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology.

What is so terrifying?

Homopathy is practised by a lot of people. It's important to know what your pt is taking as it can react with prescribed meds.

Also, a lot of modern medicines are based on homeopathic meds. Aspirin for example is based on willow tree bark that the ancient Egytians used .

Homeopathy is very much not a valid medical practice, as any scientist should hopefully know. I can see touching upon it in the context of cultural competency, and it is important to understand anything OTC or herbal that your patient is taking. But homeopathy is based on pseudoscience, including the idea that the body is afflicted by something called "miasms", the idea that the potency of a substance increases as it is diluted and that "like cures like" whereby something like a fever could be cured by eating a tiny amount of cayenne pepper. There is no evidence that it works and several prominent scientists have declared its practice unethical. I refer you to this paper from the Journal of Medical Ethics: Homeopathy is where the harm is: five unethical effects of funding unscientific ‘remedies’ -- Shaw 36 (3): 13

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

This is an example of why it's pretty much impossible to transfer from one clinical program to another - each school has the freedom to customize nursing curricula in a way that reflects their own philosophy &/or mission. Some schools emphasize religious practices, others are keen on cultural competency. My BSN program was gung-ho on nursing research & peppered every course with 'extra' stuff related to data collection & interpretation... sheesh.

I do agree with OP's distinction between homeopathy and naturopathy. I've also dealt with a lot of patients who were firm believers in home remedies & folk medicine - chewing creosote for bellyaches? garlic poultices? srsly?

Homeopathy is very much not a valid medical practice, as any scientist should hopefully know. I can see touching upon it in the context of cultural competency, and it is important to understand anything OTC or herbal that your patient is taking. But homeopathy is based on pseudoscience, including the idea that the body is afflicted by something called "miasms", the idea that the potency of a substance increases as it is diluted and that "like cures like" whereby something like a fever could be cured by eating a tiny amount of cayenne pepper. There is no evidence that it works and several prominent scientists have declared its practice unethical. I refer you to this paper from the Journal of Medical Ethics: Homeopathy is where the harm is: five unethical effects of funding unscientific ‘remedies' -- Shaw 36 (3): 13 -- Journal

of Medical Ethics

Aspirin, willow bark, or other herbal preparations are not homeopathy. Perhaps there is some confusion here between homeopathy and naturopathy or herbalism? I have no problem with herbal remedies and am fond of a few myself.

I got the reaction I was expecting when I brought this up to my colleagues- I suppose I shouldn't have hoped for evidenced-based reasoning from strangers on the internet. Never mind!

OP, I completely agree with you. A lot of people are confused about what homeopathy actually is--and it's not herbal medicine! Homeopathy is when a substance (which could be an herb) is diluted so much that there's not even a single molecule of the substance in the dilution. And this is expected to cure you. Please.

There is no place for homeopathy in a pharmacology class, unless it is to be touched upon as a part of cultural competency as the OP noted.

Also, a lot of modern medicines are based on homeopathic meds. Aspirin for example is based on willow tree bark that the ancient Egytians used .

That's not homeopathy. Lots of medications that are used today are originally derived from natural sources (digitalis and penicillin are other good examples). But homeopathy is something entirely different. And it's nonsense.

Homeopathy=Placebos. It's harmless, and can be positive if the patient believes in it.

Eeek! I'm in an online Pharmacology class as a prereq for a couple of the nursing programs I'm applying for, and the professor is acting like homeopathy is a valid thing to teach about!!

What is homeopathy?

Homeopathy, or homeopathic medicine, is a medical philosophy and practice based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself.

What is homeopathy used for?

Historically, people have used homeopathy to maintain health and treat a wide range of long-term illnesses,....They have also used it to treat minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes and muscle strains or

Homeopathy has been widely used in India, England, and other European countries.

Is homeopathy safe?

Homeopathic remedies have been regulated in the United States since 1938 and are considered to be safe.

It is absolutely terrifying to me that I will be trying to learn anything from this person. Would you be concerned?

If this is terrifying to you. The medical field might not be for you. Believe it or not the body does have the ability to heal itself.

If this is terrifying to you. The medical field might not be for you. Believe it or not the body does have the ability to heal itself.

Certainly the body heals itself all the time. Nobody questions that. But homeopathy isn't the body.

That's not homeopathy. Lots of medications that are used today are originally derived from natural sources (digitalis and penicillin are other good examples). But homeopathy is something entirely different. And it's nonsense.

It is nonsense. :yes:

And is concerning that it is taught as fact in a pharmacology class. Maybe "terrifying" is the wrong word but other than that, I agree with the OP.:up:

lhflanurseNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Nurse Practitioner.

I am sure the relevance is that it exposes you to another aspect of alternative medicine that patients may use. Homeopathy is not mixing this herb with that herb, but rather the energy or "essence" of the product. The lower the number, the more "concentrated". When working with a patient who uses homeopathy, it is wise to have some real knowledge of the practice so as not to antagonize the patient because they are trying "something different".

Interesting coincidental occurrence over on my FB page . . . I follow a science blog and this issue came up. It became personal to me because my 33 year old son has Multiple Myeloma (recent diagnosis) and her idea of how to cure it is appalling.

Derp of the Month – Joan Shields (Healthy Organic Green) – We Love GMOs and Vaccines

...Homeopathy is actually where some of her most dangerous claims come into play. An RN” claiming that homeopathy is healthcare should, in my opinion, be enough to have such a license revoked. Homeopathy is the idea that water has memory, and that memory comes from diluting something until it is no longer present...........this diet works on the pseudo-scientific idea that cancer lives on solid food, and that 42 days of drinking nothing but vegetable juice and tea will cure it....

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU.

Fun fact: SciBabe does a lot of homeopathic debunking. She got drunk off of homeopathic children's "med" to cure constipation. Videoed the whole thing, it's been pulled from many pharmacy shelves. Liquid homeopathic meds are basically sugar water, alcohol (from the extraction/dilution process)

Kuriin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

Interesting coincidental occurrence over on my FB page . . . I follow a science blog and this issue came up. It became personal to me because my 33 year old son has Multiple Myeloma (recent diagnosis) and her idea of how to cure it is appalling.

Derp of the Month – Joan Shields (Healthy Organic Green) – We Love GMOs and Vaccines

I had to look up this person...

https://www.linkedin.com/in/joan-shields-1bb86a53

It looks like she has never even worked as a registered nurse.

Hi OP, this is a very interesting situation. I am currently in an online pharm class for my nursing pre req as well. My prof. has not so much as mentioned homeopathy. I would not be too worried about this issue however. Once you get into your nursing program you will have a ton more meds to learn. Think of this class as a brushing of the surface of pharmacology as a whole. You will be learning new meds through out your career and this is simply the start of your education; so don't freak out if what your being exposed to isn't completely applicable now. Furthermore, if you so choose, you can be a real go getter and study meds outside of your pharm class. Youtube is an inexhaustible resource for learning meds. You can virtually learn every med you would ever need as a nurse on youtube.

So just jump through the hoops and do what you need to do. Online classes are all open book open note so you should be fine to not really study the homeopathy crap and still pass.

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU.

I follow SciBabe and ChowBabe and Kavin Senapathy . . . all super smart women who love to debunk anti-science folks.

They are really tough on the anti-vaxxers. :yes:

I follow MommyPhD too. I have this on my FB now.

NeuroLogica Blog >> The Improbability Principle

The credible hulk is good too!

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