Table 1

Systematic reviews of clinical trials of homoeopathy

Features

Author Year

Indication

Homoeopathy/

Studies

1 / 2 / 3 /

Results

Conclusion

Control

4 / 5


All homoeopathy in all conditions

Cucherat

all

all/placebo

17 RCT

y / y / y /

Combined p value for an effect

There is some evidence that

2000 [7]

n /y

over placebo p = 0.000036, for

homoeopathy is more than placebo.

best trials only p = 0.08

Studies of high quality more likely to be

negative

Linde 97 [8]

all

all/placebo

89 RCT

y / y / y /

OR of all trials over placebo 2.45

Results not compatbile with the

y /y

(95%CI 2.05; 2.93), in better trials

hypothesis that all homeo-pathy is

1.66 (1.33; 2.08)

placebo. No firm evidence for any

single condition

Walach 97

all

all/placebo,

41 RCT

y / p / y /

Random effect size g = 0.259

The effects of homoeopathy are not

[9]

conventional

y / y

(95%CI -0.319; 0.837), fixed

different from placebo on a statistical

effects 0.295 (0.223; 0.366)

level

Lutz 93 [10]

all

all/placebo,

21 RCT/CCT

? / n / y /

Results of available studies

No clear conclusions drawn.

conventional

y / p

contradictory

(Comment: thesis mainly discussing

problems of meta-analysis)

Kleijnen 91

all

all/placebo,

107 CCT

y / p / y /

81 trials reported positive results.

Available evidence positive but not

[11]

conventional

y / n

Most trials low quality but many

sufficient to draw definitive conclusions

exceptions

Hill 90 [12]

all

all/placebo,

40 RCT

n / p / y /

The authors of half of the studies

The results do not provide acceptable

conventional

y / n

concluded that homoeopathy was

evidence that homoeopathy treatments

effective, further 7 promising

are effective

Individualized homoeopathy in all conditions

Ernst 99

all

individualized/

3 RCT, 3 CCT

y / p / n /

All trials were burdened with

The relative efficacy of individualized

[13]

conventional

y / n

serious methodological flaws.

homoeopathy compared to

Results non-uniform

conventional treatments is not known

Linde 98

all

individualized/

32 RCT

y / y / y /

Responder RR vs. placebo 1.62

Available evidence suggests effects

[14]

placebo, convent.

y / y

(95%CI 1.17; 2.23), in better

over placebo. Evidence not convincing

quality trials 1.12 (0.87; 1.44)

due to shortcomings and

inconsistencies

Various homoeopathic treatments in a single condition/area

Barnes 97

postoperative

various/placebo

4 RCT, 2 CCT

y / y / y /

Time to first flatus in homoeopathy

Available evidence positive but several

[15]

ileus

y / y

significantly shorter. Best trial

caveats preclude definitive conclusions

negative

Ernst 98

delayed-

various/placebo

8 double-blind

y / y / y /

Most trials with severe flaws. The

Published evidence does not support

[16]

onset muscle

trials (3

y / n

3 RCT showed no significant

the hypothesis that homoeopathic

soreness

explicitly RCT)

effects over placebo

remedies are effective for muscle

soreness

Jacobs 91*

rheumatic

various/placebo

4 CCT

p / y / n /

3 of 4 trials positive. Quality poor

No specific conclusion on

[17]

diseases

y / n

homoeopathy (generally: no convincing

evidence for alternative therapies in

rheumat.)

Linde 98

asthma

various/placebo

3 RCT

y / y / y /

Trials highly heterogeneous. Two

Currently available evidence insufficient

[18]

y / n

report statistically significant

to assess the possible role of

effects

homoeopathy in the treatment of

asthma

Arnica in various conditions (mainly various tissue traumata)

Lüdtke 99

all

arnica/placebo,

23 RCT, 14

y / y / y /

Quality often low. 13 of 35 studies

Available evidence suggests that arnica

[19]

no treatment

CCT

n / n

vs. placebo with significant results,

can be efficacious. Further rigorous

10 with trend

trials needed

Ernst 98

all (mainly

arnica/placebo,

4 RCT, 4 CCT

y / y / y /

2 trials positive, 2 trials positive

Claims that homoeopathic arnica is

[20]

trauma)

conventional

y / n

trend. Most studies with severe

efficacious are not supported by

flaws

rigorous trials

Similar homoeopathic treatments in one condition/a group of conditions

Taylor

allergic

isopathic

4 RCT

n / n / n /

Pooled analysis of 100 mm visual

Isopathic nosodes were different from

2000** [21]

conditions

nosodes/placebo

y / y

analogue scores 9.8 (95%CI

placebo on both subjective and

4.2;15.4) mm better with isopathy

objective measures

Vickers

influenza-like

oscillococcinum/

7 RCT

y / y / y /

No evidence for preventative

Oscillococcinum probably reduces the

2000 [22]

syndrome

placebo

y / y

effect (3 trials) but reduction of

duration of influenza-like syndromes.

length of illness in treatment trials

Further trials needed

Ernst 99

headache

individualized/

4 RCT

y / p / y /

one trial positive, one partially

The trial data do not suggest an effect

[23]

prophylaxis

placebo

y / n

positive, 2 negative

over placebo in the prophylaxis of

migraine or headache

Wiesenauer

pollinosis

galphimia/placebo

8 RCT, 1 CS,

p / n / n /

Responder RR galphimia vs.

Galphimia is significantly more effective

96** [24,25]

2 UCS

y / y

placebo from 7 trials 1.25 (95%CI

than placebo

1.09; 1.43)


*Disease-focused review on a variety of complementary medicine interventions including homoeopathy; **Meta-analytic overviews of researchers of their own trials on the topic Features: 1 = comprehensive search, 2 = explicit inclusion criteria, 3 = formal quality assessment, 4 = summary of results for each included study, 5 = meta-analysis; y = yes, p = partly, n = no, - = not applicable, ? = unclear RCT = randomized controlled trials, CCT = non-randomized controlled trials, CS = cohort study, UCS = uncontrolled study; OR = odds ratio, RR = rate ratio

Linde et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2001 1:4   doi:10.1186/1472-6882-1-4

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