Research: LINDE and colleagues, Mun

Listed in Issue 28

Abstract

LINDE and colleagues, Munchener Modell, Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, Technische Universitat/Ludwig-Maximillans-Universitat, Munchen, Germany write that homoeopathy appears to be scientifically implausible but is widely used . The authors assessed the clinical effect reported in randomised controlled trials of homoeopathic remedies compared to placebo.

Background

Methodology

The literature search included studies from computerised bibliographies, contracts with researchers, institutions, manufacturers, individual collectors, conference proceedings and books in all languages, double blind and/or randomised placebo-controlled trials. From 185 trials identified, 119 met the inclusion criteria and 89 had data adequate for meta-analysis. Study quality was assessed by two reviewers with two scales and extracted data for clinical outcome, homoeopathy type, dilution, remedy population and outcomes.

Results

The combined odds ratio for the 89 studies entered into the main meta-analysis was 2.45 in favour of homoeopathy . The odds ratio for the 26 good quality studies was 1.66 and, following correction for publication bias was 1.78. 4 studies regarding the effects of a single remedy upon seasonal allergies had a pooled odds ratio for eye symptoms at 4 weeks of 2.03.

Conclusion

and DISCUSSION: The results from this meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that clinical effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo . [Editors note: How is that for a negative way of phrasing essentially a positive result?] However there was insufficient evidence to show that homoeopathy was clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition. Further research regarding homoeopathy is justified provided that it is rigorously and systematically conducted.

References

Linde K et al. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials. Lancet 350 (9081): 838-43. Sep 20 1997 .

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