What is the role of homeopathy in the treatment of depression?

Lead Researcher – Dr Petter Viksveen
Completed September 2018

What is this project about?

This project, carried out as part of a PhD programme at the University of Sheffield, evaluated the impact of providing homeopathic treatment in addition to usual care, for patients with self-reported depression. Multiple research methods were combined to assess the acceptability of this approach, its clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness.


The research project is registered with the ISRCTN register of Current Controlled Trials to ensure that all findings are made public. The project also obtained ethics approval from an NHS Research Ethics Committee. Patients were recruited from the ongoing NIHR CLAHRC funded Yorkshire Health Study.

Research team

Dr P Viksveen – Petter carried out this project within a Health and Related Research PhD studentship, which he completed in 2016. PhD (University of Sheffield), MSc Homeopathy (University of Central Lancashire), BA pedagogy (University of Oslo), Registered Homeopath MNHL (Norway).

Supervision by:
Dr Clare Relton – Research Fellow, School of Health and Related Research (University of Sheffield), and a Registered Homeopath
Prof Jon Nicholl – Professor of Health Services Research and Dean of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR)

Prof Paul Bissell – Professor of Public Health and the Director of the Public Health Section, School of Health and Related Research (University of Sheffield)

Lead researcher

Dr Petter Viksveen BA MSc PhD

Petter has been a practising homeopath since graduating from the Norwegian Academy for Natural Medicine in Oslo in 1990. He was Chairman of the European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH) for 13 years and ECCH Research Working Group Coordinator. He is a founder of, and a coordinator for, the European Network for Homeopathy Research (ENHR). Petter held the post of Research Advisor for the National Information Centre for Alternative Medicine, Norway from 2009 to 2011. He holds a Masters Degree in Homeopathy from the University of Central Lancashire and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Sheffield through this project.

Why is this project important?

“The project aims to contribute to the knowledge base used to determine the appropriateness of offering homeopathy as an adjunct for patients suffering from depression.”  Petter Viksveen

Publications generated by this HRI-funded project

Homeopathy in the treatment of depression: a systematic review Open Access
Viksveen P. Fibert P. Relton C.
European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018; 22:22-36

Depressed patients treated by homeopaths: a randomised controlled trial using the “cohort multiple randomised controlled trial” design Open Access
Viksveen P. Relton C. Nicholl J.
Trials, 2017; 18:299

Depressed patients’ experiences with and perspectives on treatment provided by homeopaths. A qualitative interview study embedded in a trial for depression Open Access
Viksveen P. Relton C.
Eur J Integr Med, 2017; 15:73-80

Benefits and challenges of using the cohort multiple randomised controlled trial design for testing an intervention for depression Open Access
Viksveen P. Relton C. Nicholl J.
Trials, 2017; 18:308

Depression treated by homeopaths: A study protocol for a pragmatic cohort multiple randomised controlled trial
Viksveen P. Relton C.
Homeopathy, 2014;103(2):147-52

Depressed patients treated by homeopaths: A protocol for a pragmatic randomized controlled trial and qualitative study applying the cmRCT design – poster presentation, 1st HRI International Homeopathy Research Conference, Barcelona, May-June 2013

Author publicationsLess

Economic evaluations of homeopathy: A review – oral presentation at the 1st HRI International Homeopathy Research Conference held, Barcelona, May-June 2013. Read the abstract published in Homeopathy. View a film of this presentation given at HRI Barcelona 2013 here.

Economic evaluations of homeopathy: a review
Viksveen P, Dymitr Z, Simoens S
Eur J Health Econ., 2014;15(2):157-74

What is a competent homeopath and what is needed to educate them?  A qualitative study of educators’ views
Viksveen P, Steinsbekk A, Rise MB.
Education for Health, 2012; 25(3): 172-179

Undergraduate homeopathy education in Europe and the influence of accreditation.
Viksveen P, Steinsbekk A.
Homeopathy, 2011; 100: 253-258

Changes in patients visiting a homeopathic clinic in Norway from 1994 to 2004.
Viksveen P, Steinsbekk A.
Homeopathy, 2005; 94: 222-228

Antibiotics and the development of resistant microorganisms.  Can homeopathy be an alternative?
Viksveen P.
Homeopathy, 2003; 92:99-107  

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