Table 5

Summary of the results of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) economic evaluations with exemplary study quality

CAM Therapy Compared to Usual Care*

Patient Population

Form of Economic Evaluation

Health Effects of CAM Compared to Usual Care†

Cost of CAM Compared to Usual Care†


Liguori et al, 2000 [32]

Acupuncture

Patients with migraine

CEA

Better

Lower‡

Wonderling et al, 2004 [35]

Acupuncture

Patients with chronic headache

CUA

Better

Higher‡

Paterson et al, 2003 [34]

Acupuncture

Patients with dyspepsia

CEA

Similar

Similar

Homeopathy

CEA

Similar

Similar

Korthals-de Bos et al, 2003 [27]

Manual therapy

Patients with neck pain

CEA CUA

Better

Similar

Lower¶

Brefel-Courbon et al, 2003 [50]

Spa therapy

Patients with Parkinson's disease

CEA

Similar

Lower

Van Tubergen et al, 2002 [51]

Combined spa-exercise therapy

Patients with ankylosing spondylitis

CEA CUA

Better

Better

Higher¶

Tusek et al, 1999 [53]

Complementary guided imagery

Cardiac surgery patients

CEA

Better

Lower

van Dixhoorn and Duivenvoorden, 1999 [54]

Complementary relaxation therapy

Patients with previous myocardial infarction

CEA

Better

Lower

Jacobsen et al, 2002 [55]

Complementary professionally-administered stress management training

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

CEA

Similar

Higher‡

Complementary self-administered stress management training

CEA

Better

Lower‡

Franzosi et al, 2001 [25]

Complementary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Patients with recent myocardial infarction

CEA

Better

Higher

Smedley et al, 2004 [68]

Complementary preoperative and post operative oral nutritional supplementation

Patients undergoing lower gastrointestinal tract surgery

CEA

Better

Similar

Norris et al, 2004 [56]

Potassium-rich diet

Postoperative cardiac patients

CEA

Similar

Lower

Ryan and Gevirtz, 2004 [76]

Biofeedback-based psychophysiological treatment

Patients with "functional" disorders (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome)

CEA

Better

Lower

Larsen et al, 2002 [82]

Complementary custom-made biomechanical shoe orthoses

Recent military conscripts

CEA

Better

Higher


Bold entries indicate that the CAM therapy was shown to be clearly superior to (dominate) usual care.

CEA = cost-effectiveness analysis; CUA = cost-utility analysis

* The use of the term "complementary" in this column indicates CAM therapies used in addition to usual care.

† If tests of statistical significance were performed, costs must be significantly higher or lower (and health effects significantly better or worse), or they were considered "similar."

‡ This study used both a societal and an institutional perspective, and the results were in the same direction.

¶This study used a societal perspective only. All other studies used an institutional perspective only.

Herman et al. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2005 5:11   doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-11

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