Evaluation of Neural Therapy and comparison with Conventional Medicine: structure, process and outcomes

Dönges A, Fischer L, Widmer M, Herren S, Marian F, Busato A
Institute for Evaluative Research in Orthopedic Surgery, University of Bern (A. Busato) and Institute of Complementary Medicine, lectureship in Neural Therapy, University of Bern (L. Fischer).

A comparison was performed between 191 practices employing conventional medicine with 3,263 patients and 30 practices with an integrated element of neural therapy (NT) and 1,127 patients.
Better, positive effects of treatment in the NT group, coupled with greater patient satisfaction. The patients undergoing neural therapy required significantly less medication. Also, significantly fewer people were unable to work in the NT group. The practices using NT had longer waiting lists. In most cases, neural therapy is employed on a substitutive rather than a complementary basis.
Neural Therapy has been temporarily added to the benefit catalogue of basic health insurance for primary care in Switzerland in 1999. This interim arrangement ends in 2005 when a political decision will be made either to include or exclude NT from basic health insurance. It is not yet known whether this decision will encompass NT as a whole, or will be limited to single procedures. However, reimbursements of expenditures are covered only when these methods are provided by physicians with appropriate certification in NT approved by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH). A nationwide evaluation was therefore designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of NT and a comparison with conventional procedures in Swiss primary medical care. The specific research question was, does NT provides primary care of equal quality to conventional medicine.

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