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Table 1 Systematic reviews of clinical trials of homoeopathy

From: Systematic reviews of complementary therapies – an annotated bibliography. Part 3: Homeopathy

     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)  
  1. *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