Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is the peak national professional pharmacy organisation and represents Australia’s 30,000 pharmacists working in all sectors and locations. PSA’s core functions include: providing continuing professional development, education and practice support; developing and advocating standards and guidelines; and representing pharmacists’ role as frontline health professionals.
Do not promote or provide homeopathic products as there is no reliable evidence of efficacy. Where patients choose to access homeopathic treatments, health professionals should discuss the lack of benefit with patients.
Homeopathic products are widely available to consumers from a variety of platforms including the internet, supermarkets, and health stores. Many consumers are not aware that there is no reliable evidence to support the use of homeopathic products to treat or prevent ailments. There may be a public perception that these products have health benefits. Consumers may put their health at risk if they choose homeopathic products and reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness. Many products are being sold with little or no information. All health professionals, particularly pharmacists and doctors, have a critical role to educate consumers so they can make informed decisions about how best to manage their health using evidence based medicine.
- Ernst E. A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002;54(6):577-582
- Ernst E. Homeopathy: what does the ‘best’ evidence tell us? Med J Aust.2010;192(8): 458-60
- National Health and Medical Research Council. 2015. NHMRC Statement on homeopathy and NHMRC Information paper – Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions. At: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/homeopathy
- Posadski P, Alotaibi A, Ernst E. Adverse effects of homeopathy: a systematic review of published case reports and case series. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2012 Dec 1;66(12):1178-88
- Stonemann P, Sturgis P, Allum N, et al. Incommensurable Worldviews? Is public use of complementary and alternative medicines incompatible with support for science and conventional medicine? PL0s one. 2013;8(1): e53174
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia October 2018. Complementary Medicines: Position Statement. Canberra: PSA. At: https://my.psa.org.au/servlet/fileField?entityId=ka17F0000000zFwQAI&field=PDF_File_Member_Content__Body__s
A working party of members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) was established. Members of the State and Territory Branch Committees were invited to contribute suggested recommendations. Over 40 recommendations were submitted. The working party grouped the recommendations into themes, eliminated ones that were out of scope, reduced the list to twelve and refined the wording. All PSA members were sent an online survey to rank the proposed recommendations, indicate how likely they would be to implement the recommendations in practice, and suggest additional items for consideration.
Based on the survey responses, six recommendations were shortlisted and supporting evidence gathered. The final list was signed off by the PSA Board in November 2018.
Note: PSA uses Vancouver reference style. Where there are more than three authors, only the first three are listed followed by et al.
Do not initiate medications to treat symptoms, adverse events, or side effects (unless in an emergency) without determining if an existing therapy or lack of adherence is the cause, and whether a dosage reduction, discontinuation of a medication, or another treatment is warranted.
- 2 Do not promote or provide homeopathic products as there is no reliable evidence of efficacy. Where patients choose to access homeopathic treatments, health professionals should discuss the lack of benefit with patients.
- 3 Do not dispense a repeat prescription for an antibiotic without first clarifying clinical appropriateness.
Do not prescribe medications for patients on five or more medications, or continue medications indefinitely, without a comprehensive review of their existing medications, including over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements, to determine whether any of the medications or supplements should or can be reduced or discontinued.
- 5 Do not continue benzodiazepines, other sedative hypnotics or antipsychotics in older adults for insomnia, agitation or delirium for more than three months without review.
- 6 Do not recommend complementary medicines or therapies unless there is credible evidence of efficacy and the benefit of use outweighs the risk.